EXCLUSIVE: Shining Vale, a half-hour horror-comedy from Divorce creator Sharon Horgan, Trial & Error co-creator Jeff Astrof and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment, has landed at Starz with a pilot order.
The single-camera project, from Warner Bros. TV, where Astrof is under an overall deal, was originally set up at Showtime with a pilot production commitment. I hear the CBS-owned network greenlighted the script contingent on Catastrophe co-creator/co-lead Horgan starring. She was not available, and the project was put in turnaround with multiple outlets interested. I hear Starz COO Jeffrey Hirsch was instrumental in bringing the comedy to the premium network. Starz’s sibling Lionsgate TV will co-produce with Warner bros. TV.
This is the third pilot for Horgan and Clelia Mountford’s Merman this year, joining the animated Therapy Dog at Fox, starring Lisa Kudrow with Horgan among the voice cast, and Delilah at HBO Max, headlined by Jessica Rothe. All three are done in partnership with Kapital Entertainment.
This marks the first production order at Starz for Kapital, which has series on the other two major premium cable networks, HBO (Horgan’s Divorce starring Sarah Jessica Parker, a collaboration with Merman) and Showtime (The Chi). In the horror-comedy genre, Shining Vale follows Kapital’s Netflix series Santa Clarita Diet.
Written by Horgan and Astrof, Shining Vale stems from an idea by Kaplan. The horror-comedy is a about a dysfunctional family that moves from the city to a small town into a house in which terrible atrocities have taken place. But no one seems to notice except for Pat, the mom, who’s convinced she’s either depressed or possessed — turns out, the symptoms are exactly the same. Everyone has their demons — but are Pat’s real? Or is this the portrait of a typical family torn apart by mental illness. Done in a funny, scary way.
Horgan and Mountford executive produce via Merman alongside Astrof through his Other Shoe Prods. and Kapital’s Kaplan and Dana Honor.
Horgan and Kaplan, whose Merman and Kapital Entertainment have a joint venture, are frequent creative partners who have collaborated on a number of projects including eight pilots: Pulling, Bad Mom and Bad Management at ABC; Dead Boss at Fox; Divorce at HBO, which went to series, as well as Therapy Dog, Delilah and Shining Vale.
Horgan, who was nominated for an Emmy for co-writing the pilot episode of Catastrophe with Rob Delaney, is repped by UK’s United Agents and Nelson Davis.
Friends alum Astrof was co-creator/executive producer on WBTV’s NBC comedy series Trial & Error and executive producer/showrunner on the TBS comedy series Ground Floor.