EXCLUSIVE: Jenny Mollen (Angel, Crazy. Stupid. Love., Wilfred, Girls) has inked an option sale on her recently released memoir I Like You Just The Way In Am, which Sony TV nabbed in a competitive situation. Mollen will adapt and star in the series, based on her tome about life as an actress and best-selling author (not to mention Twitter celeb and wife of Jason Biggs). She’ll also executive produce alongside Jamie Tarses (Happy Endings, Franklin & Bash, Marry Me) and Karen Kehela Sherwood (A Beautiful Mind, Tower Heist, The Good Lie). Mollen is repped by Gersh, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Stone Meyer.
TCA: NBC’s Bill Cosby Comedy To Be Created By Mike Sikowitz, Mike O’Malley, Who May Co-Star, Coming Summer Or Fall 2015
At its executive panel, NBC revealed more details about its Bill Cosby multi-camera comedy project, which was put in development in January. It will be created by Mike Sikowitz and Mike O’Malley and produced by Sony TV, where Sikowitz is under an overall deal, NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said. Sikowitz is also tied as a showrunner to the Sony TV-produced new CBS comedy The McCarthys, so I had heard that O’Malley would be writing with Sikowitz supervising. Actor O’Malley, who is eyed for one of the show’s leads, had been active on the writing side, starting with a staff writing job on Shameless, and has written a couple of pilots. As for the premise, it is a multi-generational family show, Salke said.
“Bill plays the patriarch of the family, dispensing his classic wisdom on relationships and parenthood, with three daughters, husbands and grandchildren,” Salke said “It’s a classic big extended family sitcom.” The hope is for O’Malley to play one of the husbands, she added. The show is eyed for next summer or fall 2015.
The Bill Cosby project is part of NBC’s commitment to the multi-camera genre, Salke said. Both Salke and NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt spoke of the difficulty getting multi-camera comedies on the air that stick, having just unsuccessfully tried with…
EXCLUSIVE: CBS has put in development a crime drama based on the Austrian series Fast Forward (Schnell Ermittelt). Unforgettable co-exec producer Wendy Battles will write the adaptation, from Sony TV, Jamie Tarses’ studio-based Fanfare and CBS TV Studios. The project centers on a female homicide detective who juggles the demands of her job while co-parenting and working side-by-side with her newly divorced husband, the medical examiner. Law & Order alumna Battles executive produces with Tarses and the original series’ producers Andreas Kamm, Oliver Auspitz, Kurt M. Mrkwicka and Katharina Schenk, who oversaw the drama for ORF. Schnell Ermittelt debuted on Austria’s ORF Public Broadcasting network in 2008 and had a successful four-season run. The format is repped by Paradigm.
In a competitive situation, Half, a half-hour single-camera comedy from 22-year-old actor-writer Matt Angel, has been bought by NBC with Sony TV producing. Veteran Greg Malins (Friends) is set as showrunner, and Matt’s dad Dan Angel (TNT’s Door To Door) is attached to exec produce. Based on a true story, Half centers on the journey of Riley Young, a quirky 13-year-old conceived through artificial insemination, who convinces her dysfunctional family into embarking on a search for all of her half siblings.
Anne Heche has signed a multiyear first-look producing deal with Universal Television, which includes an acting component in the studio’s programs, Uni TV announced. The pact comes on the heels of Heche starring in the short-lived NBC/Sony TV comedy series Save Me and booking a guest spot on the upcoming NBC/Sony TV comedy The Michael J. Fox Show.
CBS has ordered a new pilot for Irish-American family comedy The McCarthys, which will be converted from a single-camera to multi-camera. Talks are underway with cast members about joining the new pilot. Produced by Sony TV and Will Gluck’s Olive Bridge Entertainment, The McCarthys revolves around a big Irish Catholic, sports-crazed Boston clan and the gay son whose greatest sin is not his sexuality but his desire to spend less time with his family. The project, written/co-executive produced by Brian Gallivan, was among the pilots in serious consideration for a series pickup at CBS this season, said to be one of the strongest on the comedy side at the network in years.
New NBC drama The Blacklist got a lot of attention at the upfronts, landing the network’s best fall launchpad behind The Voice on Monday, and was a hit at the LA Screenings. Now the Sony TV-produced drama starring James Spader has raked in a slew of international sales. Still up for grabs is the top UK, market where Blacklist has sparked a bidding war among multiple networks. The series has landed at flagship broadcasters in several other key territories, including Germany (RTL), France (TF1) and Canada (Shaw). Blacklist also has been sold in Australia, Brazil and the rest of Latin America (SET), Denmark and Norway (Viasat) and Sweden (TV3).
UPDATE: Dan Harmon took to Twitter and his blog to apologize for the “very un-Community” comments in Sunday’s podcast rant. He offered a mea culpa to the show’s fans, its crew, and the writers on the fourth season that Harmon was absent for: “I’m sorry I pooped on your work.” Harmon also apologized for using language that “dehumanize[d] the developmentally disabled” and for “using the word ‘rape’ in a comedic context.” Harmon’s now back at work on Community Season 5.
PREVIOUS, MONDAY PM: At Sunday’s taping of his Harmontown podcast, returning Community creator and exec producer Dan Harmon unloaded on the show’s fourth season, which carried on under writers David Guarascio and Moses Port after NBC replaced Harmon as showrunner last year. “It’s very much like an impression and an unflattering one,” he said. “It’s 13 episodes of ‘I’m Dan Harmon!’ I’m going back to work tomorrow morning and I’m just like, do I talk like that?” Harmon, who is heading back for Season 5 with writer Chris McKenna, compared catching up on the Guarascio and Port-led fourth season to “flipping through Instagram watching your girlfriend blow a million [people].”
As expected, ABC has cancelled Happy Endings after three seasons. But not all is lost for the cult comedy. Sony TV, the leading studio behind the underrated comedy series, had reached out to a couple of networks, including USA, about the possibility of continuing the comedy there if ABC did not renew it. USA, which has been looking to break into the half-hour original series space, had expressed interest and has had discussions about picking up Happy Endings in case of a cancellation. No real conversations had been held, with the series now officially available, such are expected to begin.
If the financials can be worked out, a Happy Endings pickup would be fortuitous for USA, which has been actively developing half-hour comedies and has ordered several pilots but has yet to greenlight a half-hour series. USA had been looking to have an original comedy on tap for the fall premiere of its marquee off-network series Modern Family. Happy Endings would be a suitable companion for Modern Family as it already spent two seasons on ABC paired with the Emmy-winning family comedy. Happy Endings did well behind Modern Family, but its fortunes changed this past fall when it was moved to Tuesday to form a comedy block with Don’t Trust The B—- At Apt. 23 in a crowded comedy hour. Despite strong cult following and critical praise, Happy Endings struggled mightily on Tuesday and in its last Friday slot. ABC brass had been strongly supporting the show …
In her first series regular role since Gilmore Girls, Alexis Bledel is set as the female lead opposite Jason Ritter in Friends & Family, Fox‘s single-camera comedy pilot from writer David Rosen, Sony TV and BBC Worldwide Prods. Based on the UK series Gavin & Stacey, Friends & Family focuses on the key life moments for Gavin (Ritter) and Stacey (Bledel), who try to maintain their relationship while combining their polarizing families’ lives. Bledel recently did an arc on Mad Men. Meanwhile, Ritter recently recurred on NBC’s Parenthood opposite Bledel’s Girlmore Girls co-star Lauren Graham.
Sony Pictures Television has upped Flory Bramnick to EVP U.S. Cable Sales and Philip Martzolf to EVP U.S. Syndication Sales, the company announced today. Bramnick, the SVP U.S. Cable Distribution since 2004, will run all sales ops for SPT and be responsible for feature film and TV sales to cable outlets and for creating strategic sales opportunities for the studio. Martzolf, previously SVP Northern Region, will lead first-run and off-net syndicated programming sales as well as library sales.
NBC Buys Mystery Drama Penned By ‘Moonlight’ Co-Creator, Helmed By Michael Dinner & Produced By Sam Raimi
NBC has bought Vanish, a mystery drama from Moonlight co-creator Trevor Munson, Sony TV and Sam Raimi and Josh Donen’s studio-based Star Road banner. Michael Dinner, who is under an overall deal at Sony, will direct the potential pilot. Written by Munson, Vanish centers on a man with a mysterious past who protects deserving people from danger, and helps them disappear. Munson will executive produce with Sam Raimi, Donen and Dinner, while Robert Zotnowski, who runs Star Road’s TV development, also is expected to produce. The project, which was put together at Star Road, reunites Zotnowski and Munson; Zotnowski was a drama development executive at CBS when Munson co-created with Ron Koslow the cult vampire series Moonlight starring Alex O’Loughlin. Munson’s first novel Angel Of Vengeance, an early incarnation of what became the impetus for Moonlight, came out earlier this year. He is repped by Verve and manager Kevin Donahue. CAA-repped Dinner has drama Furlough in development at FX, where he directed and executive produced Powers and Outlaw Country, two pilots in contention for a series pickup.
Fox has bought a CIA drama from writer Joe Weisberg (Falling Skies) and a multi-camera comedy from actor-writers John Ross Bowie and Kevin Sussman, best known for their recurring roles on CBS’ hit comedy The Big Bang Theory. The hourlong project, from former CIA officer-turned-writer Weisberg, Imagine TV and 20th Century Fox TV, is described as a high-stakes character-based drama centering on the young assistants of high-ranking officers in the U.S. Intelligence community. The show takes place within the walls of the CIA, as well as the DIA, NSA, FBI and the intelligence components at the White House.
The comedy, from Bowie and Sussman, Principato-Young Entertainment and Sony TV, is tentatively titled The Ever After Part. It centers on a hip couple who go to extreme lengths to support their eccentric 5-year-old daughter, including moving in with the groom’s tyrant mother to take advantage of the great public school in her area. Peter Principato, Paul Young and Joel Zadak of Principato-Young, which manages Bowie, will executive produce, and Sussman’s manager Jill McGrath will co-produce. Bowie and Sussman met and became friends while guest starring together on The Big Bang Theory, where they recur as Leonard and Sheldon’s nemesis Barry Kripke and comic book store owner Stuart, respectively. The two wrote comedy spec Dark Minions, which caught Sony TV’s attention …
NBC has bought two more single-camera comedy projects: Life As I Blow It, from Chelsea Lately and After Lately writer-panelist Sarah Colonna, and Satellites, a workplace comedy from Weeds writer-producer Stephen Falk.
Life As I Blow It is based on Colonna’s upcoming book and follows Colonna and her life in the Midwest surrounded by eccentric friends and family whose opinions and actions know no boundaries. Happy Madison and Sony TV are producing along with Colonna’s management company New Wave Entertainment, Lunch Bag Snail Prods and Universal TV. Colonna will write the script and executive produce with Danielle Sanchez, who will supervise, Doug Robinson, Abbey MacDonald, Michael Pelmont and Brian Volk Weiss. APA-repped Colonna recently performed on the Comedians of Chelsea Lately tour.
Longtime Sony Pictures TV top PR executive Paula Askanas has been promoted to EVP Communications. She oversees business and trade press and internal communication for the company worldwide, reporting to SPT president Steve Mosko. “Paula’s ability to understand both a variety of businesses, as well as the diverse needs of our global operations, has made her a tremendous asset to the company,” Mosko said. Askanas, who joined the studio as a director working with consumer press, was subsequently promoted to VP and SVP and added international communications oversight a year ago. SPT has more than two dozen shows in production in the US; internationally, it has 15 wholly or jointly owned production companies and 120 channels.
Krysten Ritter, star of ABC’s upcoming comedy series Apartment 23, has sold her first TV project as a producer, the hourlong drama Cassandra French’s Finishing School For Boys based on Eric Garcia’s novel of the same name. Garcia (Matchstick Men) will write the adaptation, described as being in the tone of Heathers. It centers on a 22-year-old overachiever who gets her dream job as a lawyer for a Hollywood studio but can’t find a guy ready for a real, mature relationship. After the latest disappointment, she locks a guy up in her basement in order to train him to become the perfect gentleman. Ritter and Garcia are executive producing. Ritter, repped by WME, the Group Entertainment and Sanders/Armstrong/Caserta, co-wrote, produced and stars in the indie Life Happens. Garcia, repped by WME and IPG, is writing Wheel Of Time for Universal and The Prize Of Peril for Sony.
USA also has bought a project by a screenwriter/novelist. The cable network has closed a deal for Wayward Bound, an hourlong dramedy from Richard Murphy about employees at a boutique travel company struggling to navigate life while guiding their clients through the concrete jungle that is Los Angeles. Murphy will executive produce with Deborah Spera and Maria Grasso. Sony TV, where the two are based, is producing. Murphy, managed by Anonymous, previously wrote an adaptation of …
Thousands of TV executives from around the world are en route to Cannes for the annual MIPCOM market, which starts on Monday. The great majority of them, who are flying into the nearby Nice airport, were greeted by a group of Pan Am stewardesses — a promotion for the new ABC/Sony TV series, which will be among the offerings at the confab. (Though most of the sales for the 1960s soap were made after the international screenings in May.) Probably because there is no airport in Cannes, Pan Am stewardesses were stationed at both terminals of the Nice airport, greeting travelers on their way to the annual confab, according to an attendee who snapped a picture. Among the highlights at this year’s MIPCOM: keynote speeches by Disney-ABC’s Anne Sweeney, Fox’s Kevin Reilly, Miramax’s Mike Lang and Viacom International’s Robert Bakish as well as a press conferences with Paul Verhoeven and Ashley Judd.
UPDATED: Lifetime has picked up a fourth season of dramedy Drop Dead Diva with a 13-episode order. Along with Army Wives, the Sony TV-produced Diva has been a solid ratings performer for the network, most recently averaging 2.2 million viewers and a 0.7 in 18-49 this past Sunday.The third-season finale airs on Sunday. “Drop Dead Diva is a signature series for Lifetime that continues to resonate with audiences with its heart and humor,” Lifetime’s president and general manger Nancy Dubuc said. The series, starring Brooke Elliott as a plus-size attorney carrying the soul of a shallow model who died in an accident, was created by Josh Berman, who is executive producing with Craig Zadan, Neil Meron and Alex Taub.
Filmmakers Brian Koppelman and David Levien have sold the first project under their their first-look deal with 20th Century Fox TV, the duo’s first formal TV deal. The project, drama Yard Dogs, which has received a script commitment from Fox, will be written by Malcolm Spellman (Our Family Wedding). It revolves around two cops who specialize in getting information from prisoners pertaining to cases that the police can’t crack in the outside world. Koppleman and Levien are executive producing. Spellman is currently writing the animated musical Welcome To the Jungle for Jamie Foxx at Fox Animation.
Sony TV and Jamie Tarses’ studio-based Fanfare banner have landed a script commitment with penalty at CBS for Baby Big Shot, a legal drama written by Dana Calvo, a supervising producer for the Sony/Fanfare TNT series Franklin & Bash. It centers on a working-class woman who uses her street smarts to compete with her more polished colleagues at a tony Manhattan law firm. Calvo, Tarses and her Fanfare partner Julia Franz are executive producing along with Sony TV-based writer-producer Kevin Falls. This is a rare foray into drama for comedy-focused Fanfare, which has already sold several half-hour projects this season, including a comedy to CBS with writer Jeff Rake.