EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, NBC has landed a single-camera comedy starring and executive produced by Oscar winner Marlee Matlin, with a script commitment plus penalty. The project hails from writer Ben Shelton (Candy Jar), Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment and Universal Television.
Written by Shelton, who is proficient in ASL, the Untitled Marlee Matlin Project is set in the cutthroat, fast-paced world of sign language interpreting. The workplace comedy centers around a medium-sized interpreting agency in Los Angeles managed by DJ (Matlin), who’s both overextended and overconfident.
The project is based on an original idea by Kaplan who conceived it while watching the daily Covid press conferences in the first months of the pandemic which all featured sign language interpreters.
Kapital executive produces via his Kapital Entertainment alongside Shelton and Matlin. Jack Jason, Matlin’s sign language interpreter of three and a half decades, also will executive produce. Kevin Marco will oversee for Kapital. Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, is the studio.
Matlin most recently starred in Sian Heder’s feature CODA, which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Her recent TV credits include roles on ABC’s Quantico, Syfy’s The Magicians, Fox’s Family Guy and Facebook Watch’s Limetown. Matlin made her film debut in Children of a Lesser God, for which she won a Best Actress Oscar. She remains the only deaf performer to date to have won an Academy Award and, at the age of 21, she is also the youngest winner in the category. She is repped by Innovative Artists and Steve Sauer.
Shelton most recently directed the Netflix film Candy Jar. He previously created and served as showrunner of the Amazon/Pop series Impress Me, which was executive produced by Rainn Wilson. Shelton recently set up Don’t Believe Anything, a father/son comedy set in the world of espionage, with Lionsgate, and is set to direct the potential pilot. He is repped by Brillstein Entertainment, Verve and Nelson Davis.
At NBC, Kapital has upcoming single-camera workplace comedy series American Auto created by Superstore‘s Justin Spitzer.