TruTV continues its push into original scripted programming with a pilot order to Shaq Inq. (working title), a workplace comedy loosely based on the business empire of Shaquille O’Neal. The former NBA star-turned-business mogul and occasional actor will topline and executive produce the project from Mandalay Sports Media, the company launched in 2012 by Peter Guber and Mike Tollin. Tollin also executive produces the pilot, which was written by feature writer-director Jeremy Garelick (The Wedding Ringer, The Break-Up). John Fortenberry (Galavant, Instant Mom) will direct.
Said to be in the tone of Veep, the scripted comedy follows O’Neal and the team who runs his businesses. The offbeat, yet capable, group juggles the mayhem of managing Shaq’s existing products and endorsements while implementing his latest batch of eccentric and oftentimes brilliant business ideas. While they’re all working towards the same goal, each employee is constantly jockeying for the power and recognition to make the big guy proud.
“There is no denying Shaq’s multifaceted appeal,” said TruTV’s head of programming Chris Linn. Added Tollin, “Shaquille and I have been friends for 20 years, and his growth as a businessman never ceases to amaze and amuse me.”
Dan Kaplow (Trophy Wifes) and Jon Weinbach (The Other Dream Team) are co-executive producers of the pilot. Perry Rogers, Colin Smeeton and Michael Parris serve as producers.
This is TruTV’s second scripted comedy pilot since Linn took over the network, steering it towards more comedic fare. It joins Those Who Can’t. TruTV is in need of a ratings turnaround after a -31% decline last year.