J.K. Simmons, who is wrapping a seven-season run on TNT’s hit drama series The Closer, is making a switch to comedy with a co-starring role opposite Kyle Bornheimer in ABC/ABC Studios’ half-hour pilot White Van Man. The single-camera comedy, written by Bobby Bowman and directed by Michael Fresco, is a blue collar ensemble based on the British format and centers on a man (Bornheimer) who is forced to put his dreams on hold in order to take over the family handyman business from his father (Simmons). The series takes its name from the UK phrase that describes the stereotype for drivers of light commercial vehicles, often self-employed or owning small businesses such as handyman services. On The Closer, Gersh-repped Simmons, has played Deputy Chief Branda Johnson’s (Kyra Sedgwick) boss, Assistant Chief Will Pope, since the pilot. Available for pilot season for the first time in 8 years, Simmons was offered multiple pilots. He had his eye set on doing a comedy and ultimately chose White Man Van. Another Closer co-star, Corey Reynolds, also is expected to do a broadcast pilot this season — he has a talent deal with NBC.
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