ABC is wrapping the bulk of its pilot pickups today with several more orders, to drama Notorious, based on Mark Geragos, from Josh Berman and The Firm; and four comedies: Shondaland’s Toast, written by Felicity alums and long-time friends Scott Foley and Greg Grunberg; Hail Mary, an adaptation of the Austrian series Braunschlag, from Brian Gallivan and Seth Gordon; a lesbian-straight duo comedy, from writers Ed Weeks & Hannah Mackay and exec producer Andrew Reich; and The Fluffy Shop, co-written by and starring Gabriel Iglesias.
Notorious and Hail Mary, which originated at Sony TV, will be co-productions with ABC Studios. All other projects come from ABC Studios. Of the comedies, The Fluffy Shop is multi-camera, Toast is hybrid, while the other two are single-camera.
Notorious, from Jeff Kwatinetz’s The Firm, had a put pilot commitment. Inspired by the relationship between famed criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and long-time Larry King Live executive producer Wendy Walker, it was written by Drop Dead Diva creator Josh Berman and blogger Allie Hagan (Suri’s Burn Book). Described as a provocative look at the interplay of criminal law and the media, it follows the professional and personal relationship between a charismatic attorney and a powerhouse television producer as they attempt to control the media, the justice system, and ultimately – each other.
Geragos and Walker executive produce with Berman, The Firm’s Kwatinetz and head of TV Josh Barry as well as entertainment attorney Kenny Meiselas, whose client list has included Sean Combs, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga, and Whitney Houston. Hagan co-executive produces.
This marks a coming full circle of sorts for Walker who started her career at ABC as a secretary. She went on to become EVP at CNN and serve as Senior Executive Producer of the news network’s then-flagship show Larry King Live.
Notorious is ABC’s third legal drama pilot this season, indicating a big push in the arena, joining The Jury, also from Sony TV, and Conviction.
Toast marks the first half-hour pilot order for Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers’ Shondaland, which had been looking to expand in comedy. Foley and Grunberg wrote the project, which was originally developed during the 2014-15 season and was rolled. The two executive produce with Shondaland’s Rhimes and Betsy Beers. None will act. Toast revolves around engaged couple Max and Paige who, over their wedding rehearsal dinner, have their eclectic family and friends give toasts recalling anecdotes about the couple — but flashbacks reveal that the toasts don’t always get it right, as we watch the true story of their complicated, funny and relatable road to marriage. Foley has recurred on Rhimes‘ Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. This marks Shondaland’s second pilot this season, joining drama Still Star-Crossed, also at ABC Studios.
Hail Mary is a half-hour adaptation of the hourlong Austrian series Braunschlag. The project, from Tariq Jalil’s Intrigue, was written/executive produced by The McCarthys creator Brian Gallivan and executive produced by Seth Gordon (The Goldbergs) and Jalil.
In the ABC version, a young small-town mayor named Mary Wolf has dysfunctional siblings, a dying father, disgruntled citizens, a nearly bankrupt town and the mafia breathing down her neck. Only a miracle can help her. So … she fakes one.
The Austrian series created by David Schalko had a male lead. An adaptation that kept the mayor’s original gender was set up by Intrigue at Fox and 20th TV last year with Rob Riggle attached to star.
Gallivan, Gordon and Jalil executive produce the mayor project with ORF-Enterprises GmbH & Co, which controls the Austrian series.
Braunschlag had an eight-episode run on the ORF Network in 2012. The hourlong show generated the best primetime ratings in the network’s 20-year history and received the Romy Awards Jury Prize in 2012.
The untitled Weeks/Mackay project centers on an unapologetic lesbian and her best friend, a neurotic straight male, as they navigate their dysfunctional, co-dependent friendship and the world of dating. The Mindy Project co-star Weeks and fellow Brit Mackay (Peep Show) wrote the script and will co-executive produce. Reich, who supervised the writers, executive produces. This marks his second pilot order; he also has Pearl at ABC.
Like Toast‘s Foley and Grunberg, Weeks’ services on the pilot are strictly writing-producing. Anne Brogan, Val Ames, Melanie Stokes and Siobhan Bachman also executive produce for London-based Kindle Entertainment.
In The Fluffy Shop, which had a put pilot commitment, comedian Gabriel Iglesias plays a stepfather and boss to his family and friends, while he navigates his home life during the few days he spends off the road each week. Tim Doyle and Jay Lavender wrote the script with Iglesias, and Doyle serves as showrunner. The three executive produce with Joe Meloche and Tomorrow Studios’ Becky Clements and Marty Adelstein.
The project was inspired by Iglesias’ life experience including the challenges of managing a home life during the few days he spends off the road each week. This is Iglesias’ first network pilot, having previously done a recurring role on another ABC multi-camera comedy headlined by a Latino comedian, Cristela Alonzo’s Cristela, which Clements and Adelstein also exec produced.
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