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Joe Port/Joe Wiseman Relationship Comedy Gets Pilot Production Commitment At NBC

In a very competitive situation, NBC has landed Joe & Joe & Jane, a multi-camera comedy from writers-executive producers Joe Port and Joe Wiseman, with a pilot production commitment. I hear the 20th Century Fox TV-produced project also has a series penalty behind it to rank as one of the biggest comedy sales this season. Loosely based on the relationship between Port, Wiseman and Wiseman’s wife, Joe & Joe & Jane centers on a conflict-avoidant children’s book author caught in an ongoing tug of war between two needy, flawed people: his wife and his co-author/ best friend. It’s not about a couple, it’s about a trouple. Last season, another Port/Wiseman comedy with semi-autobiographical roots, spec Rebounding, which was inspired by Port’s real-life experiences, was picked up to pilot by Fox with Steve Levitan executive producing, Jason Winer directing and Will Forte starring. The year before, the duo also
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Alyssa Milano To Star In ABC’s ‘Mistresses’, Amanda Walsh Joins Fox’s ‘Rebounding’

Alyssa Milano has been tapped as the last of the four leads in ABC’s drama series Mistresses. The soap, written by Kj Steinberg, is based on the British format. It centers on four women, April (Rochelle Aytes), Josslyn (Jes Macallan), Katie (Yunjin Kim) and Josslyn’s older sister Sarah (Milano), chronicling their sometimes scandalous romantic lives. Sarah is a classy and elegant married lawyer at a top Los Angeles law firm. Charmed and Melrose Place alumna Milano, recently seen in Garry Marshall’s romantic comedy New Year’s Eve, will next reprise her guest starring role on the Fox comedy Breaking In as the ex-wife of Oz (Christian Slater). She is with CAA and Alchemy Entertainment. Amanda Walsh (Sons & Daughters) has joined Fox’s single-camera comedy pilot Rebounding, written by Joe Port and Joe Wiseman, exec produced by Steve Levitan and directed by Jason Winer. It is an uplifting
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Aly Michalka Exits Fox Comedy Pilot ‘Rebounding’ As Role Is Reconceived

Exclusive: Hellcats star Aly Michalka has departed Fox’s single-camera comedy pilot Rebounding after her character has been reworked post-table read. The 20th TV project, written/executive produced by Joe Port and Joe Wiseman, executive produced by Steve Levitan and directed by Jason Winer, is an uplifting comedy about Danny (Will Forte), a man recovering from the death of his fiancé with the help of the idiots on his pickup basketball team. Michalka was cast as Taryn, the smoking-hot younger girlfriend of one of Danny’s friends, Dave, played by Hayes MacArthur. The Taryn character has now been reconceived, with the revamp including aging her up by a decade to Dave’s age. This is the third comedy pilot where recasting was done when characters were reworked after the table read, following similar moves on CBS’ Partners and ABC’s Mandy Moore project.
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Quintet Of Actresses Cast In TV Pilots

Alexa Davalos (Defiance) is set for the female lead in Frank Darabont’s TNT drama pilot L.A. Noir, a fast-paced crime drama set in Los Angeles during the 1940s and ’50s that tells the true story of a decades-long conflict between the Lapd, under the determined leadership of Police Chief William Parker, and ruthless criminal elements led by mobster Mickey Cohen. Davalos, repped by UTA and Anonymous, will play Jasmine, a beauty with a complicated past. Andrea Savage has been cast in in Fox’s single-camera comedy pilot Rebounding. The project, written/executive produced by Joe Port and Joe Wiseman, executive produced by Steve Levitan and directed by Jason Winer, is an uplifting comedy about Danny (Will Forte), a man recovering from the death of his fiancé with the help of the idiots on his pickup basketball team. Savage, repped by UTA and Mosaic, will play Danny’s smothering sister Amanda,
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'SNL' alum Will Forte cast in Fox comedy pilot 'Rebounding'

Will Forte has been cast in Fox's new comedy pilot Rebounding. The Saturday Night Live alum will play a man who finds help from his pickup basketball team while recovering from the death of his fiancée, reports Deadline. Directed by Jason Winer of Russell Brand's Arthur, Rebounding is executive produced by Steve Levitan, Joe Port and Joe Wiseman. Both Port and Wiseman also serve as writers for the pilot. After his stint in SNL, (more)
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Will Forte To Star In Fox Comedy Pilot ‘Rebounding’ Produced By Steve Levitan

Saturday Night Live alum Will Forte is set as the lead in Fox’s single-camera comedy pilot Rebounding. The project, written/executive produced by Joe Port and Joe Wiseman, executive produced by Steve Levitan and directed by Jason Winer, is an uplifting comedy about Danny (Forte), a man recovering from the death of his fiancé with the help of the idiots on his pickup basketball team. Forte, repped by UTA and Mosaic, is now seen in Tim And Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie and has three movies coming out this summer: Rock Of Ages, That’s My Boy and Neighborhood Watch. He recurs on 30 Rock and Up All Night.
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Malcolm Barrett Among Trio Cast In Pilots

Malcolm Barrett (Better Off Ted) has been cast in Fox’s single-camera comedy pilot Rebounding. The project, written by Joe Port and Joe Wiseman and directed by Jason Winer, is an uplifting comedy about a man recovering from the death of his fiancé with the help of the idiots on his pickup basketball team, two of them played by Barrett, repped by Gersh and Management 360, and Hayes MacArthur. Port and Wiseman are executive producing Rebounding with Steve Levitan. Toni Trucks (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2) will co-star in the CBS drama pilot Baby Big Shot. The project, from Kevin Falls, Sony TV and Julia Franz’s Fanfare, is a legal drama centered on Martina, a working-class woman who uses her street smarts to compete with her more polished colleagues at a top New York law firm. Trucks, repped by Greene & Associates and Rugolo Entertainment, will play Cindi, Martina’s edgy secretary & comradette-in-arms.
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Hayes MacArthur Boards ‘Rebounding’, Kearran Giovanni Joins ‘Major Crimes,’ Sophia Bush Cast In ‘Partners’

Actor-comedian Hayes MacArthur (Perfect Couples) has been cast in Fox’s single-camera comedy pilot Rebounding. The project, written by Joe Port and Joe Wiseman and directed by Jason Winer, is an uplifting comedy about a man recovering from the death of his fiancé with the help of the idiots on his pickup basketball team, one of them played by MacArthur. Port and Wiseman are executive producing Rebounding with Steve Levitan. The project reunites MacArthur with Winer. In 2005, the duo wrote, directed and starred in a short, The Adventures of Big Handsome Guy and His Little Friend, which got the attention of 20th Century Fox TV executives who signed them to adapt the short as a TV series. The project went to pilot at Fox the following year and launched the Winer and MacArthur’s TV careers. MacArthur, repped by CAA, Flutie Entertainment and attorney Todd Rubenstein, will next be seen in the feature Bachelorette,
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Busy pre-upfront weekend

Busy pre-upfront weekend
This weekend, Fox ordered pilots to series, renewed and canceled existing shows while also casting Alfred Molina as the lead of a pilot, tapping Peter Berg to direct another and picking up a piece of development for midseason.

Welcome to post-strike upfront season 2.0, where the traditional pilot cycle has been turned on its head and network executives are readying fall schedules in between pilot casting sessions and development meetings.

Fox's new series orders went to J.J. Abrams' sci-fi drama "Fringe" and the Jason Bateman-directed comedy "The Inn", along with Mitchell Hurwitz's animated comedy "Sit Down, Shut Up". The pickups stage a big "Arrested Development" reunion at Fox for creator Hurwitz and star Bateman, who also voices "Sit Down" with "Arrested Development" alums Will Arnett and Henry Winkler.

"Fringe" appears headed to fall, while Fox's other marquee new sci-fi series, Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse", which has a seven-episode order, is expected to launch midseason.

Meanwhile, the Bernie Mac starrer "Starting Under", which had a series commitment, seems unlikely to land on Fox's fall schedule. It wasn't clear Sunday whether the network intends to retool the show for midseason consideration.

On the renewal front, Fox picked up" 'Til Death" while it opted not to bring back "Back to You" for a second season. The two sitcoms run in a block this season to similarly respectable but not spectacular ratings. However, "Back to You" is far more expensive as it boasts marquee talent in front of and behind the camera, with stars Kelsey Grammer and Patrica Heaton and creators Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd.

Also canceled are midseason entries "New Amsterdam" and "Canterbury's Law".

"Back to You", as well as the animated project "The Pitts", are being shopped by 20th TV to other networks.

In pilot castings, Fox tapped Molina to star in Paul Attanasio's one-hour "Courtroom K", a darkly comedic courtroom drama that revolves around a judge (Molina), a prosecutor and a public defender (Megan Dodds).

On the development side, Berg is set to direct and executive produce "Virtuality", the two-hour sci-fi pilot from UMS and BermanBraun. Additionally, Fox handed out a cast-contingent pilot order to Shaun Cassidy's drama "Inseparable" for midseason.

"Inseparable", from ABC Studios, originally cast Toby Stephens during the strike in anticipation of a pilot pickup contingent on a script.

Harris stays at 'Mother' ship

"How I Met Your Mother" writer-producer Chris Harris has inked a new overall deal with the show's producer, 20th Century Fox TV.

Under the seven-figure pact, which has an option for a third year, Harris will continue on "Mother", where he serves as a co-exec producer, and also will take first crack at developing his own shows.

"I'm excited to go into a long producing relationship with 20th TV, at least for the next week and a half at which point I hope they don't force majeure me," Harris quipped, referring to the looming writers strike. "I started working here four years ago, and I find it a great place for nurturing fresh ideas and getting them on the air."

Harris was brought to the attention of 20th TV brass four years ago by veteran comedy producer Steve Levitan. At the time, Levitan was exec producing the studios' comedy series "Oliver Beene" and Harris had only one writing credit on his resume, CBS' "Late Show With David Letterman". Levitan gave Harris his first primetime gig as a staff writer on "Beene" and, impressed with his skills, recommended him to 20th TV executives.

Fox backs 'Back to You' for full-season pickup

It's "back 11" for Fox's freshman comedy Back to You.

The multi-camera comedy starring Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton received a full-season pickup Wednesday, when the network ordered 11 additional episodes, bringing the total to 24 half-hours, two more than a regular 22-episode order.

Back, from comedy veterans Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, stars Grammer and Heaton as co-anchors at a local TV station reunited after an acrimonious breakup years ago.

While short of the blockbuster status of Grammer and Heaton's former series Frasier and Everybody Loves Raymond, Back has been a solid performer for Fox in the Wednesday 8 p.m. time slot, opening a night that has been traditionally challenging for the network.

Last week, the series drew 7.0 million viewers and a 2.4 rating/7 share among adults 18-49.

The 20th TV-produced Back is the first new Fox scripted series to receive a full-season order. The network also picked up another cycle of another new Wednesday show, the unscripted Kitchen Nightmares, and ordered additional scripts from rookie drama K-Ville.

Grammnet takes action with move to 20th TV

Grammnet takes action with move to 20th TV
After almost 15 years at Paramount, Kelsey Grammer's Grammnet Prods. is moving to 20th Century Fox Television with a one-year pod deal.

Under the pact, which has an option for a second year, Grammer and his development team, led by president Steve Stark, will develop new series projects for 20th TV. The deal begins in June, when Grammnet's current pact with CBS Paramount Network TV is up.

Grammer already is in business with 20th TV, starring opposite Patricia Heaton in the studio's comedy "Action News". The multicamera project from Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd recently landed at Fox with a series commitment (HR 2/9).

Grammer worked with 20th last year as the director of a comedy pilot the studio produced for CBS with writer Rich Appel. 20th president Dana Walden said studio execs were impressed by his "strong instincts for casting, performances and material." After "Action News" came together with Grammer this year, Walden said it "made all the sense in the world for us to be in business with Grammnet."

Walden said she was impressed at the eclectic range of projects that Grammnet has in development.

Fox is the home of 'Action News'

Fox is the home of 'Action News'
Action News, Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd's comedy project starring Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton, has landed at Fox with a 13-episode commitment.

The multicamera comedy, from 20th Century Fox TV, is set at a local TV station and revolves around the reuniting of a male and female anchor team (Grammer, Heaton).

Levitan and Lloyd penned Action News on spec. Despite a steep license fee commanded by the project's marquee stars, ABC, CBS and Fox bid on it.

Fox entertainment president Peter Liguori called Action News "a triple threat." "We have a good script, two terrific, proven writers and two leads with proven, outstanding comedy chops," he said.

Action News, which is targeted for fall, is the first project to come out of the rich three-year deal "Just Shoot Me!" creator Levitan and Frasier showrunner Lloyd inked with 20th TV in July.

"Bringing Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton back to television together is a remarkable opportunity," 20th TV president Gary Newman said. "It also makes us feel very good about making the deal with Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd, who have done so much great television over the years."

Baruchel, Scott, O'Mara join pilots

Baruchel, Scott, O'Mara join pilots
Jay Baruchel, hot off his role in the Oscar-nominated Million Dollar Baby, has been tapped to star in Jerry Bruckheimer's drama pilot for the WB Network, and Tom Everett Scott has come on board to star opposite Pamela Anderson in Stacked, Fox's comedy series from Steve Levitan. In other pilot casting news, Jason O'Mara is set as one of the leads in the ABC drama In Justice. The WB's untitled Jonathan Shapiro pilot, from Jerry Bruckheimer TV and Warner Bros. TV, centers on the relationship between a young prodigy lawyer (Baruchel) and his mentor, a jaded defense attorney who has fallen from the big leagues. Written by Shapiro, the pilot is exec produced by him, Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman.

Hart, Westfeldt, Lee land pilots

Hart, Westfeldt, Lee land pilots
Actor-comedian Kevin Hart and Kissing Jessica Stein star Jennifer Westfeldt have joined the cast of Steve Levitan's comedy pilot for NBC, Dante, and Jason Lee has been tapped to play the title role in another NBC comedy pilot, My Name Is Earl, lifting the contingency off the project. Over at the WB Network, casting has been completed on Bill Lawrence's comedy pilot Nobody's Watching, with Mad TV alumnus Taran Killam tapped as the second lead opposite Paul Campbell and Paul Adelstein landing the role of a TV network president named Jeff Zucker. Dante, from Levitan and commercial writer-director John Immesoete, revolves around the life and family of a football superstar (Morris Chestnut) who has an extra-large sense of entitlement and often is out of touch with reality (HR 12/21).

'Shoot Me' pulled; Levitan pistol-hot

The bullets are flying over Just Shoot Me. After a disastrous ratings performance earlier this week, NBC informed the producers Wednesday that it was immediately pulling the Universal Studios-produced comedy from the schedule and shelving 13 unaired episodes until sometime in the summer. The workplace comedy starring David Spade will be temporarily replaced with specials through the upcoming sweep, including "The Most Outrageous Game Show Moments 4" on May 6. The move drew an outraged response from Just Shoot Me executive producer Steve Levitan, who accused NBC entertainment president Jeff Zucker of breaking his word about the show's future and killing it this season through poor scheduling and a lack of promotion. Levitan said that at the final season taping last month, "Jeff Zucker came and assured our cast, promised our cast, that (NBC) would not pull us and they would be airing these episodes. Now it's clear to me his word meant nothing. It's a real slap in the face to the show and the crew for NBC to treat the show the way they've treated it." NBC and Zucker declined comment.

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