Director-producer Ken Kwapis has sold two family comedy projects to NBC though the first-look deal In Cahoots, his company with Alexandra Beattie, has with Universal Television. Kwapis is attached to direct both projects as well as executive produce with Beattie.
The first project, tentatively titled Fred and Marilyn, is written by Scott Prendergast and inspired by his real life relationship with his mother. It focuses on one man and his formidable mother. “Words like ‘domineering’ and phrases like ‘force of nature’ do not begin to describe this off-the-wall mother,” Kwapis said. “The fact that this story is based on a real person makes my jaw drop.”
The second project is is described as a high-definition family comedy based on Jack Gantos’s best-selling Joey Pigza book series. Claudia Silver will write the pilot. “I’m determined to develop a family comedy that is big, raucous and actually takes place in the real world,” Kwapis said. “The Joey Pigza books are irreverent and audacious and provide the perfect springboard for such a series.”
Kwapis has a long history at NBC where he directed a number of episodes of The Office, including the pilot. Series’ executive producer Greg Daniels recently said that he wanted Kwapis to direct the upcoming Office series finale.
Kwapis and Beattie recently set up the feature project Alive And Well, written by David Hubbard, at Vendome Pictures, with Kwapis set to direct. Outside of their UniTV deal, In Cahoots has two half-hour projects in development at Showtime, with one, Trending Down, getting close to a green light. Kwapis and Beattie are repped by UTA, manager Rick Berg and attorney Jeanne Newman; Prendergast is repped by UTA and attorney Ron Levin; Silver is with Rick Berg and was repped in the deal by UTA which also reps Jack Gantos.