Jason Bateman and Paramount Network Television have locked lips on a deal for Bateman to star in the CBS comedy pilot “Kiss Me Guido.”
Bateman, known to viewers for his roles as a teen actor in laffers “Silver Spoons” and “The Hogan Family,” will play a gay man who ends up living with an Italian American stud. Skein is based on helmer Tony Vitale’s 1997 Par pic of the same name.
Project is the first at Par for producers Jonathan Axelrod and Jamie Widdoes, who inked a three-year pact with the studio in 1998. Vitale and scribe Marc Cherry are exec producers of the pilot.
Jessica Lundy (“Hope & Gloria”), Alec Mapa, Josette DiCarlo and Michael DeLuise have also been cast in “Guido.”
In other casting news, Debi Mazar, Heather Paige Kent, Ellen Burstyn, Kevin Dillon and Kristin Bauer have joined the ensemble of “That’s Life,” a CBS drama pilot from Par and exec producers Anita Addison, Maddy Horne and Diane Ruggiero.
Show concerns a woman in her 30s who decides to return to college. Production begins today, with shooting skedded for Los Angeles and New Jersey.
Kent is currently a regular on NBC’s “Stark Raving Mad.” NBC has yet to decide whether the show will be back next fall.
As for “Guido,” while the show won’t hide its obvious gay themes, Axelrod and Widdoes say the skein won’t revolve around the sexual orientation of its characters.
“This is a show about opposites living together,” said Axelrod, who gives props to Neil Simon for perfecting the mismatched buddy genre with “The Odd Couple.”
Bateman’s first big TV role came in 1981, when he played the orphan James Cooper for a season on NBC’s “Little House on the Prairie.” That led to a series gig as Ricky Schroder’s smartass pal on “Silver Spoons” from 1982-84.
After starring in the short-lived NBC laffer “It’s Your Move” — which has developed something of a cult following with some Gen Xers — Bateman played Valerie Harper’s oldest son in the 1986 sitcom “Valerie.” Latter skein changed its title to “Valerie’s Family” and ended its run as “The Hogan Family.”
Bateman’s feature credits include “Teen Wolf Too,” “Necessary Roughness,” “Breaking the Rules” and “Love Stinks.”