A decade after Six Feet Under ended its run on HBO, another funeral home family drama with an unusual twist is headed to TV. NBC has put in development an hourlong workplace soap with musical elements from Jason Katims’ True Jack Prods. and Craig Zadan and Neil Meron’s Storyline Entertainment.
Created/written by film/TV writer and playwright Julia Brownell (About A Boy), the one-hour project is inspired by the real-life Boyd Funeral Home in South Central LA. The drama is exploring a funeral home business with a dynamic mother/daughter duo at the helm who approach funeral services as positive celebrations of life, not death — complete with song and dance.
True Jack’s Katims and Michelle Lee executive produce alongside Storyline’s Zadan and Meron as well as Diane Nabatoff, with Brownell co-executive producing and Storyline’s Mark Nicholson and Tasha Brown serving as producers. Universal TV, where both True Jack and Storyline are under deals, is the studio.
Katims and Lee had been searching for an idea to develop with Brownell, who has written on three of True Jack’s shows — Parenthood, About A Boy and the upcoming The Way — after developing together a half-hour comedy for NBC last year. They learned about the Boyd Family life rights that Zadan and Meron had acquired alongside independent producer Nabatoff and all parties teamed up. Coincidentally, Brownell, who has roots in musical theater, had an existing relationship with Zadan & Meron from writing on their NBC musical drama Smash.
Located in one of the toughest areas of Los Angeles known for its high rates of gang violence, the Boyd Funeral Home has made a name for itself with its unusual services that feature music blaring from the hearse and pallbearers dressed in top hats and tails dancing the casket down the church aisle.
Zadan and Meron are currently in rehearsals on their next live holiday musical special for NBC, The Wiz.