EXCLUSIVE: After a lengthy four-way bidding war among ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS, Big Men, a comedy from Irish actor-comedian (and Bridesmaids standout) Chris O’Dowd and writer-producers Joe Port and Joe Wiseman, has landed at NBC with a script commitment plus significant penalty. Setting the single-camera project at the network of The Biggest Loser seems appropriate as it revolves around a group of men who meet at a weight loss clinic. O’Dowd will write the script based on his idea, with Port and Wiseman on board as showrunners. The three will executive produce with 3 Arts’ Dave Becky and Nick Frenkel for 20th Century Fox TV.
O’Dowd had been enjoying a solid acting career in the U.K., including starring on the popular series The IT Crowd. His career shifted into high gear this summer with his breakout performance in the runaway hit Bridesmaids. This marks O’Dowd’s American writing debut. In Britain, he recently created and co-wrote Moone Boy, a comedy series for Sky TV inspired by his childhood, which is now filming. He also is penning a comedy feature funded by the Irish Film Board. UTA-repped Port and Wiseman, who are under an overall deal at 20th TV, serve as co-executive produces on the red-hot new comedy series New Girl. Last season, they created the Fox comedy pilot Family Album. Coincidentally, they also wrote the U.S. version of The IT Crowd, which went to pilot at NBC. O’Dowd is with UTA and UK agent Donna French. Scripted shows about people with weight problems have become very popular at the networks in the past couple of years with projects like the CBS comedy series Mike & Molly and A&E’s pilot Big Mike.