EXCLUSIVE: In a very competitive situation, ABC has landed Imaginary Friend, a comedy blending live-action and CGI animation from Oscar-winning Disney feature animator Patrick Osborne and The Goldbergs team of creator/executive producer Adam F. Goldberg, executive producer David Guarascio, Happy Madison and Sony Pictures TV. The project has received a pilot production order, which has a series penalty attached.
Written by Goldberg and Guarascio and co-created by Osborne, Imaginary Friend centers on a thirtysomething bachelor whose life is turned upside-down when he finally meets the love of his life — a divorced working mom with three kids. This triggers even more upheaval when the slightly unhinged imaginary friend he created as an only child suddenly reappears in his life to help him navigate the transition from single guy to family man. I hear the imaginary friend character will be a CGI creation in a live-action environment. Goldberg, Guarascio, Osborne and Happy Madison executive produce.
ABC, which won the project in a bidding situation, had been considered a natural home for Imaginary Friend as the network carries The Goldbergs and is a sibling to the Walt Disney Animation Studios, where Osborne has been based. Additionally, ABC has another hybrid comedy on the air, The Muppets, which combines actors and puppets.
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Osborne, who worked as animator on such Disney movies as Bolt, Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph, made his writing and directing debut with the studio’s 2014 animated short Feast, which won an Oscar this year.
The Goldbergs, now in its third season on ABC, has consistently built on its The Middle lead-in. The 1980s comedy recently was sold by Sony TV to Hulu in a non-exclusive streaming deal.
Goldberg is repped by WME, manager Ken Freiman and attorney is Bruce Gellman. Osborne is with WME and Anonymous Content. Former Community co-showrunner Guarascio is repped by UTA.