EXCLUSIVE: This is a writing team configuration that is sure to get people’s attention: Jon Favreau, Roberto Orci, Seth Green and Michael Dougherty. It certainly got ABC’s — the network has handed out a put pilot commitment to Ex-Comm, a sci-fi drama with humor, which will be written by the quartet. Iron Man helmer Favreau is set to direct the potential pilot, with 20th Century Fox TV and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci’s studio-based K/O Paper Products producing. Ex-Comm is described as a present-day “presidential procedural” and a cross between the paranormal suspense of The X-Files and the political intrigue of The West Wing. It follows a newly-elected President and his top secret “Executive Committee” (a.k.a. Ex-Comm), the government’s covert team of America’s most elite minds who investigate and protect our nation from the strangest occurrences and “conspiracy theory truths” out there. Tonally, the show aims to be fun but grounded, with everything in it operating within the realm of possibility. Favreau, Orci, Green and Dougherty are executive producing with Kurtzman, K/O’s Heather Kadin and Green’s producing partner at Stoopid Monkey Matthew Senreich.
How did the writing team on Ex-Comm get assembled? Robot Chicken co-creator Green and Superman Returns/X Men 2 co-writer Dougherty hatched the idea and took it to Kurtzman and Orci’s company. Meanwhile, Kurtzman and Orci co-wrote this past summer’s Cowboys & Aliens movie, which Favreau directed. While abroad doing press for the film with the rest of the cast and crew, Orci was working on the Ex-Comm pitch, and that’s how Favreau heard about it and came on board. Ex-Comm brings Favreau back to ABC where he directed and executive produced the pilot for the network’s well-received but short-lived single-camera comedy series In Case Of Emergency. It also marks Kurtzman and Orci’s return to the network where they got their big break working on J.J. Abrams’ drama Alias. This is the second sale within the past 24 hours for Favreau, who also has comedy spec Tweaked, which he wrote and is set to executive produce and direct, heading to CBS where it is expected to get a pilot order. Because that one is a spec sale, it should be a quicker production turnaround, allowing Favreau to direct both Tweaked and Ex-Comm should the latter go to pilot early next year.
Favreau has been pursuing television recently as the actor-writer-director has been looking to spend more time in Los Angeles with his wife and 3 young kids. On TV, he previously created, executive produced and hosted the IFC talk show Dinner For Five. On the feature side, CAA-repped Favreau, who rose to prominence with the 1996 indie Swingers, which he wrote and starred in, is now working on the script for the 2013 Disney tentpole Magic Kingdom, which he will also direct. This is the third sale for K/O Paper Products this season. The company also has a Western about Wyatt Earp at Fox with writer John Hlavin and a drama about a Congresswoman advocate at CBS penned by Anna Fricke. UTA-repped Green and Senreich won a Best Short-Format Animated Program Emmy for Robot Chicken last year. Dougherty is with WME.