After a few weeks of dealmaking, Showtime has finalized a pilot production order to Roadies, a comedy written, directed and executive produced by Cameron Crowe. The project, executive produced by My So-Called Life creator Winnie Holzman and J.J. Abrams, follows the day-to-day life of a successful rock tour as seen through the eyes of the crew members who help get the show on the road. It marks a return to the rock world for former Rolling Stones reporter Crowe, who previously tackled it in his semi-autobiographical feature Almost Famous.
Crowe wrote the script and will direct the pilot, with Holzman serving as showrunner. The two executive produce with Bad Robot’s Abrams and Bryan Burk, with the company’s Kathy Lingg co-executive producing. Warner Bros. TV, where Bad Robot is based, will produce the project, described as an inside look at the reckless, romantic, funny and often poignant lives of a committed group of characters who live for music and the de facto family they’ve formed along the way. Gail Levin who was the casting director for many of Crowe’s features including Almost Famous, We Bought a Zoo, Elizabethtown, Vanilla Sky and Jerry Maguire, will be casting the pilot.
This marks Showtime’s first comedy pilot order for 2014. Last year’s crop of pilots yielded one half-hour series pickup, Happyish. The network is yet to make a decision on the future on the project, which has been in limbo following the sudden death of star Philip Seymour Hoffman in February. On the drama side, the network greenlighted pilot Billions in March.
Crowe revealed that he and Abrams had been talking about the Roadies idea for some time. “We’re fans of crews, those workers up on the rigging towers, or walking feverishly with eight phones on their belt. Those quietly devoted people live huge lives, they’re often the real keepers of the flame,” he said. Added Abrams, “We had been talking about the series for so long, but when he actually handed me the script, it was funnier and sweeter and wilder than I had ever imagined. Roadies is Cameron Crowe at his most musically passionate, colorful character best.”
Roadies marks the first cable pilot order for Bad Robot, which had been focused on broadcast since its inception. In one of the company’s first major cable sales, last year it landed a pilot production commitment from HBO for Westworld, a drama series inspired by Michael Crichton’s 1973 sci-fi movie. It’s been an off year for Bad Robot on the broadcast side with only one returning series, CBS standout Person of Interest, as Abrams has been busy writing, producing and directing Star Wars: Episode VII. Crowe, Holzman and Abrams are repped by CAA.