One of the longest and most persistent courtships this pilot season ended successfully last night when former Law & Order: SVU star Christopher Meloni signed on to topline Fox’s untitled Justin Halpern & Patrick Schumacker comedy pilot (aka I Suck At Girls), from Bill Lawrence’s Doozer and Warner Bros TV. Meloni fielded interest from about a dozen pilots this season, turning down all offers, including the Halpern/Schumacker project at first. But the producers came back to him, and he ultimately agreed to do it. Helping the cause was the fact that Meloni and Lawrence have known each other for a long time, and Meloni did an episode of Lawrence’s NBC comedy series Scrubs years ago. Based on Halpern’s book I Suck At Girls, the single-camera comedy tells the story of a boy becoming a man, and a man becoming a father, in a time before coming of age was something you could Google. It centers on a father, Jack Dunlevy (Meloni), and his teen son Frankie (Connor Buckley). Jack is ex-military, and an oncologist. He talks to everyone like they’re 75-years-old and dying of cancer: just a no bulls–t guy.
Meloni, repped by Gersh and manager Bill Butler, has been focused on features since leaving SVU in 2011 in addition to doing a major arc on HBO’s True Blood. He has features 42, Man Of Steel, Sin City 2 and White Bird In A Blizzard coming out this year.