Hungry hearth

Dot-com ad wizards ink WB, Fox deals

Just three months after getting into the primetime biz via a multiyear deal with Brad Grey Television, dot-com ad wizards Hungry Man Prods. is proving to be a tasty dish for network programmers.

The creative minds behind the ESPN’s “This is SportsCenter” branding campaign and the critically acclaimed spots for Monster.com have sewn up a firm pilot order at the WB and a pilot and premium script deal at Fox. All three projects are being targeted for the fall.

Not surprisingly, considering Hungry Man’s rep for out-of-left-field ad campaigns, none of the three skeins could be described as traditional comedy programming:

  • “The Doughboy,” in development at the Frog net, is being exec produced by indie film thesp Hopwood Depree (“Rhino Skin”), who will also star in the project. It’s being described as a reality/comedy hybrid, with about half of each episode expected to be scripted.

    Former “Simpsons” scribe Donick Cary will co-write the pilot script and serve as exec produce along with Gay Rosenthal (“Behind the Music”) and Nancy Rainford. Show will take real people and insert them into scripted situations. An Internet component is being built in as well.

    Depree, recruited to the project through Hungry Man, will serve as a sort of slacker host for the series.

  • Fox Broadcasting has ordered “The Number One Show in America,” best described as “The Ed Sullivan Show” on acid. The series will mix elements of a variety show with behind-the-scenes scripted comedy. Hungry Man partner Hank Perlman and Hungry Man TV topper Allan Broce are attached as exec producers.

  • Fox is developing “The Continuing Misadventures of the Official Block Family,” or “OBF” for short. Half-hour scripted laffer is based on the real-life story of Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett, who at the age of 18 became the highest-paid player in NBA history. Show will revolve around four friends of a fictional ballplayer, with aspects of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “The Monkees” and the Little Penny ad campaign.

Broce and Perlman will exec produce in conjunction with Tom Lassally. Garnett may make guest appearances if the project goes to series.

Hungry Man’s first development season has worked out incredibly well, according to Broce.

“We’re really happy with where we are,” he told Daily Variety, saying the execs at BGTV have “navigated us through” the development process.

In addition to the three series in development, Hungry Man continues to crank out campaigns for a wide array of firms. At least six Hungry Man spots are slated to run in next month’s Super Bowl.

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