Scot Armstrong and Ravi Nandan stumbled into TV producing 2 years ago. The two were working with Nandan’s old friend, writer Jason Mantzoukas, on feature projects when an idea Mantzoukas had felt better suited for TV. The three pitched the idea, it sold to NBC and eventually became the 2009 comedy pilot Off Duty starring Bradley Whitford. The pilot didn’t go to series, but NBC liked Armstrong and Nandan’s brand of comedy and signed their 4-year-old company American Work in a first-look deal. In their first TV development season last year, Armstrong and Nandan sold 4 comedy projects. This season, they have set up 10: 8 at NBC and one each at Fox and FX. “Yeah, things are growing,” Armstrong said. “I think it’s because we push the tea party agenda in all of our half-hour comedies.” Because of their deal with NBC, the bulk of American Work’s development is at the network, which had been stuck in fourth place for the past couple of seasons. “Our goal is to bring NBC from fourth to fourther,“ Armstrong quipped. For Armstrong, a feature writer who has worked on such comedies as Road Trip, Old School and, most recently Hangover II, TV has been a nice change of pace. “I love stepping away from my laptop, getting in a room with writers.” As for the writers they’ve enlisted for development, “we like working with people who are up-and-coming or helping writers make the transition from film,” Nandan said. But mostly, “we went to those people who make us laugh,” Armstrong said. Here is a list of American Work’s TV projects, all comedy:
NBC’s untitled Parham and St. Clair project is being written by Upright Citizens Brigade alums Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair who are also attached to star. In centers on Jessica who moves back in with her best friend Lennon to find out that Lennon is now living with her boyfriend, Joe, so the three have to learn to live together.
NBC’s A Lot Like Us, from writer-comedian Liz Feldman, is about an alternative LA family, centering around an expectant lesbian couple and their donor who lives with them.
NBC’s untitled Lee and Walsh project, from writers Sonny Lee and Patrick Walsh (NBC’s Outsourced) is described as The Social Network meets Eastbound and Down and follows a self-centered, once-hot internet entrepreneur and his would-be think tank as he tries to maintain the illusion he’s a Sean Parker-like CEO. ICM-repped Lee and Walsh are out to directors on their Paramount feature 21 Shots.
NBC’s Join the Club, from writer Thomas Moffett, centers on a disenchanted 30-year-old joins his step-grandfather’s men’s club and finds an unlikely group of friends where he least expected.
NBC’s Shanked It, from writer Mike Arnold, is described as Cheers meets Caddyshak and revolves around three couples, their lives, and the golf course in the middle of it all.
NBC’s Brothers, from writers John Blickstead and Trey Kollmer, revolves around three brothers from 3 different mothers who try to avoid their father’s mistakes.
NBC’s I’m with Russell, from veteran writer Rob Long (Cheers), revolves around a guy, his friends and his new wife.
NBC’s Life Is Good, from writers Mike Bernier & Chris Pappas, centers on a White family man who meets the mixed-race, 19-year-old son he never knew he had.
Fox’s Single at 40, from comedians Scott Aukerman and Patton Oswalt, is about a divorced guy re-entering single live.
FX’s Ambulance Chasers, from Mantzoukas, is a workplace comedy about personal injury attorneys, with Adam Bernstein attached to direct.
On the feature side, CAA-repped American Work has Road to Nardo set up at Sony with Armstrong attached to direct and I’ve Got Your Girlfriend, which is being written by Manzoukas, in the works at 20th Century Fox and the Chernin Co.