Adaptation part of company's growing TV lineup
Storyline Entertainment and the Greenblatt Janollari Studio plan to blow the covers off a high-school Casanova’s little black book.
“The Black Book: Diary of a Teenage Stud,” a series of young adult novels written under the pen name Jonah Black, has been optioned by the two companies to develop as a TV series.
Storyline and Greenblatt/Janollari have attached Laura Wolf, a recent NYU Film grad gaining prominence in Hollywood, to adapt the series. The production companies describe the single-camera comedy as a younger, male “Sex and the City” or “Malcolm in the Middle” at puberty.
“Black Book” is one of a number of series projects that Storyline — best known in recent years for its lush longform productions — currently has in development.
A different animal
“We think we have something that could be a very big series,” said Storyline partner Craig Zadan. “This is not a cookie-cutter show. This really has a unique feel and voice.”
Besides “Black Book,” Storyline is about to shoot the single-cam, half-hour dramedy “Jupiter and Mars” for Fox Family Channel. Zadan and Meron also are developing a project from Dean Pitchford, with the working title “Body and Soul,” that integrates music into an hourlong drama.
Zadan stressed that Storyline plans to make a firm commitment to series television and not just “slum” in the genre.
“We never want to give up our movies, but at the same time Neil (Meron) and I are series fanatics. What we’ve brought to (the TV movie) arena we’d like the opportunity to show we can bring to the series arena.”
The company has a large slate of longform projects currently in the works, including remakes of “Mame,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and a Judy Garland biography.
Though aimed at readers ages 14 and up, the books offer a frank look at high-school sex. Series characters include Jonah’s mother; a teen sex ed lecturer and author of a self-help book, “Hello Penis! Hello Vagina!”; and his sister, Honey, the “madame” of the cheerleading squad, who supposedly discovered Jonah’s diary and sent the book to its publisher. True to concept, the jackets will be decorated with teenage girls’ names and phone numbers as the series proceeds.
Four of the books are under contract with HarperCollins, which plans to issue one every two months beginning Sept. 1.
Jonah Black — “a lovable, good-looking bad-boy type,” in the words of HarperCollins editor Julia Richardson — is the pseudonym of James Finney Boylan, author of “Getting In,” a novel for an older readership about high school seniors applying to college.
Author of ‘Bride’
Wolf wrote “Mad Bride Journal,” a novel just picked up by Bantam that’s on submission to studios. She wrote the Fox pilot, “Bonnieland” and co-wrote the feature, “On Edge,” starring Jason Alexander.
“Laura Wolf is a fabulous writer,” Zadan said. “The idea of teaming with Laura and Bob (Greenblatt) and David (Janollari) is a dream.”
Bill Contardi at WMA repped the book on behalf of book packager 17th Street Prods., which conceived the project. Wolf is repped by Cori Wellins and Renee Kurtz at WMA.