EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Showtime has bought for development Yank, a half-hour comedy written by Sex And The City alums Elisa Zuritsky and Julie Rottenberg and to be directed by Ugly Betty Emmy winner Richard Shepard. Yank, from Fox 21, is centered on a young man who ventures out of his sheltered, ultra-orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to pursue his passion of becoming a stand-up comedian. He embarks on a double life in the foreign world that is only steps from his home — New York City — and earnestly attempts to live simultaneously in the diametrically opposed worlds. “We’ve always been fascinated by the question of how our families’ expectations have and haven’t shaped our lives,” Rottenberg said. “We realized that this is the most extreme version of a family sending a very clear signal of exactly who you’re supposed to be. But what happens if you have your own plans?”
Zuritsky and Rottenberg had been looking to develop with Shepard for a few years. “This idea just struck all three of us as something funny and original — the idea of being a foreigner in your own city seemed a very fresh way of exploring themes of love and family and growing up,” Zuritsky said. Added Shepard, “There’s so much drama and human comedy stemming from the very concept that I knew this could be something special.”
Shepard is producing alongside his Olé partners Sean and Bryan Furst though the company’s deal at 20th Century Fox TV and Fox 21. “Showtime has incredible passion for this material,” the Fursts said. “It just became clear they would be the perfect home for it.” Zuritsky and Rottenberg also served as co-executive produced NBC’s Smash. Shepard has directed the pilots for Criminal Minds and WGN America’s breakout drama Salem. On the comedy side, he has helmed multiple episodes of HBO’s Girls. In features, he recently directed Dom Hemingway. Olé has the CW’s Star-Crossed. WME reps all parties.