EXCLUSIVE: I hear Amazon Studios is finalizing deals for pilot orders to three single-camera comedy projects, Love You More, from former Sex and the City showrunner Michael Patrick King, which stars Bridget Everett; the genre-bending Sea Oak, from short-story writer George Saunders; and the Detroit-set The Climb, starring and written by Diarra Kilpatrick, from the Mark Gordon Co.
The current pilot season at Amazon, home of such original comedy series as Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle, includes three half-hour comedy pilots, which are currently available for viewing: The Legend of Master Legend, Budding Prospects and The New V.I.P.’s.
Love You More — from Michael Patrick King’s MPK Prods. in association with Warner Bros. TV, where King has been under a deal, and Amazon Studios — was written by King, actress/comedian Bridget Everett (Patti Cake$) and comedian-director Bobcat Goldthwait, with King set as showrunner and Goldthwait slated to direct.
It follows New York City cabaret sensation Karen Best (Bridget Everett). Karen is a big girl with a big personality and a big love of Chardonnay, which occasionally, causes her to make some big mistakes with men. But the biggest thing about Karen is her big heart, which she uses to excel at her job as a counselor at a group home for young adults with Down syndrome. And sometimes, Karen’s need to stand up for all the little people in life manifests into a fantasy rock music number, where we discover she also has a big and beautiful voice.
King, who also is co-creator/executive producer of CBS’ 2 Broke Girls and of cult HBO comedy The Comeback, executive produces Love You More with Goldthwait; Everett is co-executive producer.
Sea Oak, from Amazon Studios, was written by George Saunders based on his short story. Aunt Bernie, a meek working-class woman, dies tragically in a home invasion in her Rust Belt subsidized housing complex called Sea Oak. Compelled by sheer force of dissatisfaction, she comes back from the dead full of rage, determined to get the life she never had.
Saunders executive produces with Jonathan Krauss; Kier McFarlane and Lael Smith serve as co-exec producers. Saunders’ bestselling debut novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, was just acquired by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman to develop as a feature.
The Climb, from Amazon Studios and the independent Mark Gordon Company, was written by Kilpatrick drawing on her experiences growing up in Detroit. In an age where the “curation of self” has surpassed baseball as the national pastime, two best friends stuck in the same dead-end job search for fulfillment by becoming Internet famous, though moxie is their only discernible talent.
Kilpatrick executive produces with Christina Lee and the Mark Gordon Co.
Kilpatrick was selected as one of the 11 2015 honorees of the WGA’s Writers Access Program for her drama pilot The Dirty Dozen. Her American Koko digital series, originally produced for her YouTube channel, received the Best Web Series Award at the American Black Film Festival. It was recently acquired by ABCd, with Viola Davis producing via JuVEe Productions.