ABC has given a pilot green light to Valley Trash, a single-camera LA private school comedy headlined and produced by former My Name Is Earl star Jason Lee, from Speechless writer-producer Niki Schwartz-Wright and Fresh off the Boat creator/executive producer Nahnatchka Khan.
Valley Trash, produced by Universal TV, where Khan and her Fierce Baby Productions are under an overall deal, and ABC sibling 20th Century Fox TV, was one of three hot ABC comedy scripts this season that quietly received cast-contingent orders by the network, along with Home Economics and Untitled Emily Kapnek/Dean Holland (aka Wild Child). All three have been able to cast a lead, lifting the contingency; landing Lee did that for Valley Trash.
Written by Schwartz-Wright, Valley Trash was originally bought by ABC with a put pilot commitment. It centers on The Harmans, a scrappy, blue collar family living in the deep Valley who suddenly experience a major culture clash when their fourteen-year-old daughter, Abby, gets accepted to a prestigious LA private high school filled with students and parents who want nothing to do with her, her family or their 818 area code.
Lee will play the lead Cal, a hard-working low-rent lawyer (the kind with his face on bus benches), who is basically a modern day Atticus Finch for people who can’t afford a lawyer. He is Southern, charming, rough around the edges and does everything for his wife Jules and two kids, Abby and Benji.
It is interesting that the project was sold during a pitch season influenced by the college admission scandal, which spawned multiple private school-set shows. Valley Trash has now found new relevance on the heels of The Parasite’s massive wins at the Oscars as it explores a similar class-conflict theme.
Schwartz-Wright, who serves as showrunner, executive produces with Khan via her Fierce Baby Productions. Former ABC Studios VP Comedy Jen Carreras, who now heads development for Fierce Baby, also exec produces. Lee is a producer. Universal TV, part of NBCU Content Studios, is the studio, co-producing with 20th TV, part of Disney TV Studios.
In addition to Valley Trash, Fierce Baby has a straight-to-series order at NBC for comedy Young Rock, inspired by and featuring Dwayne Johnson.
Lee played the lead in the single-camera comedy series My Name is Earl, which aired on NBC for four seasons and earned him two Golden Globe nominations and two SAG Award nominations. He also starred in the TNT series Memphis Beat, which ran for two seasons. Lee recently reprised his role of Brodie Bruce in Jay & Silent Bob Reboot. He is repped by ICM Partners, Imagine Artist Management and Hansen Jacobson Teller.