“Spin City” co-creator Bill Lawrence has landed a pilot commitment from ABC to develop a new half-hour comedy for mid-season.
Lawrence is in the process of writing two scripts, one a medical ensemble comedy and the other a buddy sitcom. Once it’s determined which project the network will greenlight, the pilot is expected to be shot in September or October.
In the meantime, Lawrence has plenty on his plate before the ABC project moves forward. Along with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, Lawrence is exec-producing the half-hour animated pilot “Clone High, U.S.A.” for Fox.
“Clone High” follows the classroom adventures of the teenage clones of historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln and Joan of Arc. Like Lawrence’s ABC project, “Clone High U.S.A.” comes from Touchstone Television.
“Bill is an enormous talent, an incredible asset with the studio and a good friend,” Touchstone exec VP Steve McPherson said. “We’re excited about pursuing these two projects with him.”
Additionally, Lawrence penned the final seg of “Spin City” featuring retiring star Michael J. Fox.
‘Spin’ cycle up?
With the Fox and ABC projects in the works, it’s still up in the air whether Lawrence will return for another year as show runner of “Spin City,” which will star Charlie Sheen next season. If his schedule permits, there’s still a possibility Lawrence will be back.
McPherson said ABC is aiming for a potential January launch with its Lawrence project, but the show could be ready sooner if needed. The exec promised that, unlike many put pilot deals in the industry, the project will be shot.
“We will definitely shoot one of (the two concepts),” McPherson said. “Some of those put pilot deals are B.S. This production commitment is real.”
McPherson said the Lawrence project is also a chance for Touchstone to handle more year-round development.
“From a studio standpoint, this is actual, real off-cycle development,” he said. “Most of the stuff that lands in midseason is fall holdover.”
Lawrence is in the second of a three-year deal with ABC worth more than $10 million. He created “Spin City” along with Gary David Goldberg in 1996, and has been with the show in various capacities, including executive producer, since then.
Prior to “Spin City,” Lawrence was a writer on the first season of “Friends” and was executive story editor on ABC’s short-lived “Champs.”
Lawrence is repped by Broder, Kurland, Webb and Uffner partner Ted Chervin; manager Howard West; and attorney Jared Levine.