- Simon Rich is adapting his book, The Last Girlfriend on Earth, Man Seeking Woman, into a comedy series for FXX. (The show is described as being about a man who “enters the dating scene, a nightmarish hellscape of untold horror.” Hey, they got that right. Now we’ve just got to hope for a few laughs.)
- Dan Harmon (where have we heard that name before?) is prepping a 6th season of COMMUNITY for Yahoo, of all places, now that the show has been axed once again by NBC. (Which could mean that we’ll have to take Yahoo seriously when it comes to laughter. Um, anybody see what Yer Friendly Neighborhood Munchman did there? Anybody care?)
- Jeff Pinkner (FRINGE), Josh Appelbaum (LIFE ON MARS), Andre Nemec (STAR-CROSSED) and Scott Rosenberg (LIFE ON MARS) are co-writing the pilot for the new CBS drama series, ZOO, based on the novel of the same name by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge. (Which means a big payday for all the writers involved, you can bet your muncher on that – and also big aggravation for the WGAW credits department, which is not known for its love of 4-person writing teams. As in they’re generally, you know, denied.)
- Bryan Fuller (HANNIBAL) & Michael Green (THE RIVER HEROES, whatever that is) are co-writing a pilot for a Starz series adaptation of Neil Gaiman‘s, um, masterpiece actually, American God. (Which my munchiness would greet with unmitigated pleasure if I hadn’t wanted that gig so #@!$ing much. But this is still the best TV development news I’ve heard since I started writing this department! Fucking AMERICAN fucking GODS!)
- Neil Gaiman‘s novel Anansi Boys is being made into a BBC miniseries. Although Neil wrote a screenplay for a movie version that fell through a few years ago, no writer has been set yet for the TV version. (Me! Me! See my hand up in the air? See it? Look closer, dammit! Look!)
- Dan O’Shannon (MODERN FAMILY) is leaving his Exec Prod gig on that series to start slaving away in a 3 year overall deal with CBS TV Studios. munchman and TVWriter™ will be looking forward to everything that this very funny guy comes up with during his CBS stint. (And you should be calling your representative to see about replacing him on MF cuz you know in your heart you’re just as funny, right? Or almost, anyway.)
- Daniel Brocklehurst (UK version of SHAMELESS) is developing Hannah Fidell‘s feature, A TEACHER, into a drama series at HBO. (And munchie’s absolutely positive he’s gonna live this one cuz “The series centers on a high school teacher in her late 20?s in the midst of a torrid affair with one of her students.” Tastelessness and political incorrectness rule!)
- Mike Barker (AMERICAN DAD), co-creator of said animated masterpiece, has left his gig as co-showrunner of that self same masterpiece. His partner, Matt Weitzman, remains on duty on the show. So if you know Matt and think you should replace Mike, now’s the time to get in touch. (No, we don’t know him, but we’re at least a couple of degrees in Matt’s direction. His late father, Lew Weitzman, was LB’s agent for a zillion years, and his twin brother, Paul Weitzman currently is one of H’wood’s Top Agent Dawgs and was a popular speaker at Brodystock back in the day. Hi, Paul!)
- Diane English (MURPHY BROWN) is writing the pilot for an NBC series that has no name, no concept, and potential stars we’ve never heard of. (In other words, Diane’s the real star here. Wonder what they’ve given her to make her come back to work after making such a huge pile of $$$ from MURPH’s success. We’re all of us in the audience the better for it, that’s for sure.)
- Mac Lethal (um, a rapper with a blog) has sold the rights to a TV adaptation to said blog AKA TEXTS FROM BENNETT to FX. Randall Einhorn (WILFRED) is writing the pilot. (So we know it’ll be totally unorthodox and funny if it ever hits the air. What we don’t know, of course, is whether Mac and Randall will be able to stand each other long enough for such an occurrence.)
- Michael Caleo (IRONSIDE) is writing the pilot for a TV version of DC Comics’ HOURMAN. (For The CW, natch. So you know exactly what to expect. Wonder how they’ll handle the fact that they’ve already given the character’s traditional costume to their version of Green Arrow.)
- Novelist Patricia Cornwall (the Kay Scarpetta book series) & Stephanie Sengupta (LAW & ORDER), are co-creating a crime drama for ABC about a “young, orphaned, highly skilled female cop who has an uncanny ability to solve crime. (To which all we can say is, “Whoa! Uncanny!” and resolve to make “uncanny” our Personal Word of the Day.)
- In case you haven’t heard, the uncanny Neil Gaiman (um, a bunch a cult stuff) is writing a special DOCTOR WHO short story which will be published as part of the BBC’s uncanny series of ebooks about the Doc. (We’re really looking forward to this one cuz we know that at the very least it’ll be fucking…uncanny!)
Cuz Neil and Dave are huge in the creative world at the moment, and it sure couldn’t hurt to pick up on some of the secrets of their success:
by Phil Hoad
Neil Gaiman, writer
The character of Dream – AKA the Sandman, or the Lord of Dreams – had always been in my mind, like that Michelangelo analogy about a sculpture already being in the marble. In 1988, when I wrote a dream sequence for Black Orchid, my first comic for DC, it occurred to me that it might be cool if the Sandman, who had appeared in comics by other writers, was in there. I started thinking about reworking the character and talked about it over dinner with [DC president] Jenette Kahn and [editor]Karen Berger. Later, I got a call asking me to do a monthly comic.
They said: make it your own. So I started thinking more mythic – let’s have someone who’s been around since the beginning of time, because that lets me play around with the whole of time and space. I inherited from mythology the idea that he was Morpheus, king of dreams: it’s a story about stories, and why we need them, all of them revolving in some way around Morpheus: we encounter a frustrated writer with an imprisoned muse; we attend a serial killer convention and the first performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream; we even find out what cats dream about (and why we should be afraid).
I realised I had a platform and decided to write about big things. I started thinking: “What does it mean to be a king?” At one point, I did a set of four stories exploring that question: with Robespierre, one of the leaders of the French revolution; Joshua Norton, the Californian who in 1859 declared himself first emperor of America; Augustus, founder of the Roman empire; and the eighth-century Arab caliph Harun al-Rashid.
I went on holiday, driving around Ireland with my wife. Every night, I would write a one-page description of the next story. I planned eight issues. Every comic I’d liked doing had been a major commercial failure. So I assumed, by issue eight, they would ring me and say they couldn’t keep publishing. The sales on issue one, which appeared in October 1988, were fantastic. But two, three and four saw a downwards spiral. Then, on issue five, we started this long, slow climb up. DC now had something that was outselling anything comparable – Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, say, or Jamie Delano’s wonderful Hellblazer. By the very end, in 1996, we were beating Batman and Superman. Investors buy comics for their future worth, but the market had collapsed and sales had gone into freefall – except for Sandman, because nobody who bought it was an investor. Readers just wanted to find out what happened each month.