Lauren Ashley Smith Developing U.S. Remake Of British Time-Travel Comedy ‘Timewasters’ In The Works At ABC

Sandy Honig / ITV

EXCLUSIVE: A Black Lady Sketch Show head writer Lauren Ashley Smith is set to write and exec produce the U.S. remake of British comedy Timewasters, which is in the works at ABC.

The single-camera comedy comes from CBS Studios. ABC is developing the remake of ITV2’s time-traveling jazz comedy as part of its second-cycle development process.

Timewasters was created by Daniel Lawrence Taylor, who also starred in it, and ran for two seasons on ITV2 in the UK. It was nominated for a BAFTA in 2018 for Best Scripted Comedy alongside Michaela Coel’s Chewing Gum and Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney’s Catastrophe as well as the winner BBC mockumentary This Country, which is being remade at Fox.

The U.S. adaptation will revolve around four Black twentysomething New Yorkers who accidentally end up in the year 1926, despite being deeply unenthusiastic about and deeply unequipped for time travel. The series follows the foursome’s often-bumbling attempts to survive and thrive in the Harlem Renaissance as it explores what it means to be Black in 2021, what it means to be Black in 1926 and the unique experience of being Black in both time periods.

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Lauren Ashley Smith, who is head writer and co-exec producer of HBO sketch comedy series A Black Lady Sketch Show and also wrote for The Rundown with Robin Thede, will write and exec produce.

Lawrence Taylor will also exec produce with Kenton Allen and Matthew Justice, who run Big Talk Productions, the British production company behind the original. Allen mentioned the project as part of Big Talk’s development slate in a recent wide-ranging sit-down with Deadline.

The Untitled Time Travel Comedy, as it’s currently known, is the latest project to go through ABC’s “off-cycle” development process. The network recently picked up Sam Esmail’s crime drama Acts of Crime and medical drama Triage to pilot, as part of the process and is expected to hand more pilot orders out soon, likely to Kevin Costner’s drama National Park Service.

On the comedy side, ABC debuted Call Your Mother earlier this month and picked up Home Economics to series based on a presentation. Still waiting for decisions are Work Wife, which has shot its pilot and Bossy, which is yet to film its pilot because of the recent Covid surge.

Smith is represented by UTA, Katie Newman at 3 Arts and Josh Sandler at Granderson Des Rochers, LLP.

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