Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 9/9/13

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are

  • Lauren Iungerich (AWKWARD) has sold DAMAGED GOODS, a sitcom about “sexual politics,” to ABC. (Ah, sexual politics. The buzz phrase of 2013. Who cares if nobody knows what it means? )
  • Mike O’Malley (SHAMELESS) is writing the pilot for Starz’ SURVIVOR’S REMORSE, a sitcom about sports stars and how they adjust to no longer living in, you know, a bad neighborhood. (It stars NBA all-star LeBron James, who should know…but how do you make this funny yet grounded in the real world at the same time?)
  • Jessica Sharzer (AMERICAN HORROR STORY) has the pilot for ABC’s NO WAY BACK, based on the bestselling novel by Andrew Gross. (The book is all about a “web of treachery,” so television definitely should get at least that part right.)
  • Sam Shaw (MASTERS OF SEX) is developing a WGN America drama series called MANHATTAN, about that thing they did in New Mexico that created the atom bomb. (So if you’re hoping for an adaptation of the old Woody Allen film – sorry.)
  • Todd Jones & Earl Richey Jones (JOHNSON FAMILY VACATION) are writing an untitled Fox sitcom about Judge Greg Mathis. (Cuz His Honor’s already famous, don’tchaknow, thanks to his own syndicated series, and since audiences are addicted to fame, well, everybody’s gonna watch, right?)
  • Michael Schur (PARKS & RECREATION) has extended his Universal Television deal through 2016. (And inasmuch as we lurves P&R we’re, um, thrilled not only for him but for ourselves as viewers.)

Sitcom Showrunners Expound on the Future

…And they sure as hell know a lot more than most TV execs!

The Future of Sitcoms According to the Creators of ‘Parks and Rec,’ ‘Enlightened,’ ‘Don’t Trust the B—’ and ‘Raising Hope’ – by Alison Willmore

Greg Garcia (the creator and executive producer of Fox’s “Raising Hope”), Nahnatchka Khan (the creator and executive producer of ABC’s “Don’t Trust the B— in Apartment 23”), Michael Schur (the co-creator of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”) and Mike White (the co-creator, co-star and executive producer of HBO’s “Enlightened”) gathered in Manhattan this past weekend for a New Yorker Festival event entitled “The Future of Sitcoms.” While the panel did not, as jokingly promised by moderator Emily Nussbaum, the magazine’s TV critic, come up with a plan for the next stage of comedy during its 90-minute run, it did cover some very interesting ground about how sitcoms are evolving in a way that may be quieter but is no less significant than what’s happening with dramas. Here are some highlights from the event:

Storytelling is getting more sophisticated. When working on his 2004 Fox series “Cracking Up,” the single-camera aesthetic was “still in its infancy,” according to Mike White, and “networks were extremely prescriptive about how it should look and feel.” White said he feels it’s since changed and opened up considerably. That said, it doesn’t mean that everyone’s ready to come along for the ride — as Garcia pointed out, “the shows that get the biggest ratings aren’t doing anything new” and that the definition for success is “what will make the most money for networks in syndication.” But Khan was hopeful, saying that what’s important is that these ideas are “percolating” and that “change takes time” — “what’s considered a hit now” is different, she said.

Everyone’s in awe of “Louie.” Louis C.K.’s FX show was brought up several times as something to admire. “Among writers, that’s the number one thing we talk about,” said Schur, while Khan called out the episode “Dad,” in which a long sequence was dedicated to Louie running away from his father, as “fantastic to me” — “It’s so raw. I find it refreshing. For me, that’s hopefully where comedy is going.” But they admitted the show wasn’t for everyone, and that it wasn’t something everyone could pull off. Garcia acknowledged that “some members of the audience could find it offputting,” and Schur cautioned about claiming the show heralds a new era: “To do what he does, you have to be as funny as Louis C.K. — and that narrows the field down to one person… It’s hasty to say everything’s different because of Louis C.K.”

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Comedy is Hot in TV These Days so Say Hi to Funny Cops

But will they be as funny as the gang on BARNEY MILLER? Or as real? (Or doesn’t real count anymore?)

Cop Comedy from Michael Schur & Dan Goor Sparks Bidding – by Nellie Andreeva

There is a heatwave in Hollywood these days, and it’s not just the scorching temperatures outside. After a sluggish start of the buying season, comedies are getting red-hot with another bidding war. A pitch from the Parks & Recreationduo of co-creator/exec producer/showrunner Michael Schur and co-executive producer Dan Goor was just taken out to the four major broadcast networks, and all are pursuing it. The untitled project, which Schur and Goor will co-write together, is a single-camera comedy about a diverse group of detectives in a precinct at the very edge of New York City. Schur and Goor are executive producing for Universal Television. I hear the NBC-affiliated studio made a strategic decision to take the pitch out wide. It recently did the same with a Jason Katims/Sarah Watson medical drama, which landed at Fox after fielding interest from multiple networks.

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The Good: Bidding wars for writers are always great; glad these doods are going to score

The Not-So-Good: Yeah, the new layout we tried for this post looks kinda sucky; sorry