Written by Marshall Todd (Barbershop), The Zipcoders is about a divorced mother of three who moves her family to the East Side of Austin, Texas, soon after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., in an effort to be closer to her estranged sister. Once there, her teenage son forms a rock ‘n’ roll band, to the utter bewilderment of friends, family and the community at large.
Davis and Tennon executive produce through JuVee, along withTodd. ABC Studios, where JuVee inked an overall deal in April, is the studio.
“The Zipcoders is near and dear to my heart,” Tennon said. “Viola and I love what Marshall Todd put on the page — the world, the characters and a fun-loving take on music, relationships, dreams and family. Over our conference room door is etched ‘Dream Big, Dream Fierce’ and this show really underlines that ethos.”
The Zipcoders stems from an original idea developed at JuVee about a group of teenage friends growing up in East Austin who aspire to be a rock band like the Beatles. With the image of a group of African-American teenagers with feathered hair and bell bottoms in the middle of the Deep South, the company met with potential writers. The producers went with Todd who, after doing some research on late-’60s America, found immediate parallels to the issues the country is dealing with today — politically, racially and musically.
“This project gives me the opportunity to tell a story that, while specific to the African-American experience, doesn’t travel in the usual tropes,” Todd said. “As a parent I was inspired to tell a story from the dual perspective of parents and children in a world where the rules are constantly changing. Music has always been a passion of mine, and to be able to use it to inform this particular narrative was a provocative challenge.”
The Zipcoders joins JuVee’s thriller drama project Head Games, written by Chuck Rose, which also has been set up at ABC. JuVee’s Head of Television Andrew Wang will be overseeing the project for the company.
Todd co-wrote the original Barbershop movie, which launched the successful franchise in 2002, and became a sought-after script doctor working for producers Larry Gordon and Jerry Bruckheimer, including an uncredited rewrite of Bad Boys II. He is developing D-Town with producer Billy Chartoff and All Eyez on Me director Benny Boom.
JuVee Productions is repped by CAA. Todd is repped by Gersh, Principato-Young and Mark Temple.