ABC is developing Read Bottom Up, a comedy project from ABC Studios-based producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage of Fake Empire and Ben Karlin. I hear the network took the project — based on the novel by Neel Shah and Sloane Crosley about love in the digital age — off the table with a put pilot commitment.
Read Bottom Up — referring to the way one follows an email or text chain — follows young New Yorkers Madeline and Elliot, who meet then embark on a relationship, much of it playing out online and under the scrutiny and well-intentioned interference of their respective best friends and confidants Emily and David. Shah and essayist Sloane Crosley, who used her longtime pen name Skye Chatham for the book, will write the TV adaptation and will executive produce with Schwartz & Savage and Karlin. Fake Empire executive Lis Rowinski will co-executive produce and oversee the project for the company.
Shah and Crosley both have existing relationship with Fake Empire principals Schwartz and Savage. Neel first met Schwartz when he was writing recaps of Schwartz’s first series, The O.C. for CollegeHumor, and Crosley played herself in an episode of Schwartz and Savage’s Gossip Girl.
Shah’s credits also include the upcoming Focus Features film Puerto Ricans in Paris, starring Rosario Dawson and Luiz Guzmán, and the 2012 Black List script F/M/K, co-written with Alex Blagg, which is in development with Olive Bridge and Sony Worldwide. He is repped by UTA and 3 Arts. Crosley’s first novel, The Clasp, was published in October by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. She is repped by WME.
This marks the latest sale for Fake Empire this season. Read Bottoms Up joins drama The Party — also a pre-emptive buy by ABC — inspired by a Brazilian series, which Schwartz and Savage are writing and executive producing, as well as supernatural dramedy Horrorstör, which has a put pilot commitment at Fox. It is written by Schwartz and Black List screenwriter Michael Vukadinovich based on the novel by Grady Hendrix, with Gail Berman and Charlie Kaufman also exec producing.
On the feature side, through their overall deal with Universal Pictures, Schwartz and Savage are adapting and producing the tentpole feature Monster High, based on Mattel’s billion dollar franchise. Schwartz, Savage and Fake Empire are repped by WME and attorney Joel McKuin.
For former Daily Show and Colbert Report executive producer Karlin, this also marks the second put pilot commitment this season. He also is writing and executive producing Damage Control, a single-camera comedy project for ABC based on the Marvel Comics books, from Marvel TV and ABC Studios. He is repped by UTA and 3 Arts.