Comedy writer-producers Joe Port and Joe Wiseman, creators of the 20th Century Fox TV-produced comedy pilot Family Album, have signed a two-year overall deal with the studio. Under the pact, the two will join New Girl, 20th TV’s hot new comedy series for Fox, as co-executive producers. Additionally, their pilot Family Album is in strong contention at Fox for midseason. Along with another half-hour pilot, Little In Common, Family Album is vying for a spot on the network’s four-show comedy block in March. To further boost the project’s chances, 20th TV has agreed to produce a second episode, which Port and Wiseman are currently working on. Family Album, which 20th TV co-produces with Marty Adelstein and Shawn Levy’s studio-based 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods., stemmed from a blind script deal the studio signed with Port and Wiseman last year. “Having dated for a while, we all collectively wanted to take this relationship to the next level,” 20th TV chairman Gary Newman said. “They have the inspiration to create their owns show and also have the right demeanor to be able to fit into a show and support other creators when they don’t have anything going on.”
Port and Wiseman praised 20th TV for their support of Family Album from the moment the studio executives heard the pitch a year ago. The script, about a dad going on vacation with his extended family, went to pilot, then landed Levy as director and Mike O’Malley as star. “Aside from not getting picked up this time around, it has been a dream experience,” Wiseman said. The duo’s focus for the near future will be on New Girl and Family Album. “We hope to get Family Album on the air and work on it for a number of years,” Wiseman said. Port and Wiseman met while they were both assistants on the 1999 UPN animated comedy Dilbert. Spotted by the show’s showrunner Larry Charles as they stayed late to work on a King of the Hill spec script, Charles offered to read it and gave the duo their first staff-writer jobs on the second season of Dilbert. UTA-repped Port and Wiseman went on to work on such series as Just Shoot Me and The Office and have had several scripts picked up to pilot, including Who Gets the Parents (ABC/ABC Studios), 5 Year Plan (ABC/UMS) and The IT Crowd (NBC/UMS).