EXCLUSIVE: Modern Family star Ty Burrell is expanding his relationship with ABC. In a competitive situation, ABC has bought a comedy, written and co-executive produced by Emmy winner Burrell and his younger brother Duncan. 20th Century Fox TV, the studio behind Modern Family, is producing the single-camera project, which has received a script commitment with penalty.
Based on the Burrell brothers’ childhood, this is a comedy about two city families who buy the only store in a tiny rural community in Oregon. In a world where everyone is overly stressed and reliant on technology, this group works together, without every modern convenience, to make a better life for their family.
This is the second writing effort for Oregon natives Ty and Duncan, who grew up in Ashland and spent eight years in Applegate, OR, where their family owned a country store. Back in the 1990s, the two wrote and performed a two-person play, which was staged in New York. Titled Babble, it featured Ty playing various standup comedians and his brother playing a heckler in the audience. The brothers’ lives soon diverged, and they didn’t re-team for another writing gig until now. Outside of entertainment, the two are partners at Bar-X in Salt Lake City, which is run by Duncan.
Comedies written by siblings are popular this development season. NBC gave a put pilot commitment to The High Life, a single-camera comedy from the brother-and-sister writing duo Will Reiser and Robin Reiser, also produced by 20th Century Fox TV. CBS has in the works a semi-autobiographical multi-camera comedy penned by brothers Tim and Michael Hobert, which is produced by Warner Bros Television. Burrell, repped by ICM Partners and attorney Frank Stewart, voices Mr. Peabody in DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming film Mr. Peabody & Sherman.