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Reitman has TV ‘First’

Ivan Reitman and his Northern Lights Entertainment shingle are making their first primetime pilot, “First Gentleman.” The potential one-hour series is for CBS.

“Gentleman,” to be produced in association with Universal TV, will traverse comedic territory familiar to fans of Reitman’s 1993 film “Dave.” In “First Gentleman,” a cop who is looking forward to retirement suffers the misfortune of having his wife elected the first female President of the U.S. He then spends his days solving mysteries in Washington.

Reitman, who’s directing the film “Junior,” a big-budget Universal comedy toplining his “Twins” co-stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito, will not helm the pilot; cast and director will be announced in the next few weeks.

The one-hour pilot will shoot in mid-March and be ready in time to be considered for a slot on the Eye web’s fall schedule. The potential series is envisioned as a one-hour family “dramedy” that could play at 8 p.m.

The pilot was written by Robert Palm, whose episodic credits include NBC’s “Law & Order.” Exec producers are Reitman and Dan Goldberg.

“We’ve been kicking around the idea of getting involved with TV for some time ,” says Goldberg, “but we’ve been waiting for something a little special to fill the bill. The idea came up after ‘Dave’ when several executives at Universal came to us about the possibility of doing a Washington-themed show.”

In a season where networks have been tight with pilot orders for one-hour series, the Reitman pilot is interesting for two reasons. First off, it marks another example of a feature film director like Joel Silver, John Landis and Barry Levinson producing small-screen fare. Secondly,it raises the question whether Reitman can yet again beat the Washington jinx, as he did with “Dave.”

Numerous A-list TV writer/producers, from Linda Bloodworth-Thomason to David Milch, have tried to pen a successful show set in the political arena of D.C. Whether it was ABC’s “Capital News” from 1990 or CBS’ “Top of the Hill” in 1989, the city of cherry blossoms has spelled Nielsen poison for primetime series.

Reitman’s only other TV franchise has been a Saturday-morning animated spinoff of his film “Ghostbusters.”

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