CBS cheering as laff pilots lock hangars

ABC also cooking as Tambor set for skein

CBS has caught some Spartan spirit, greenlighting a half-hour comedy pilot starring “Saturday Night Live” alum Cheri Oteri.

20th Century Fox/CBS Prods. project was one of several half-hour pilots getting the nod Wednesday as comedy development season headed into the homestretch.

Eye also okayed a 20th/CBSP comedy from ex-“Friends” scribe Jeff Strauss, while ABC gave thumbs-up to a Touchstone/DreamWorks laffer starring Jeffrey Tambor (“The Larry Sanders Show”) and a Touchstone half-hour created by Pam Brady (“Just Shoot Me”).

Oteri is set to star in and serve as co-exec producer of “Loomis,” which will by written and exec-produced by Gary Janetti. Thesp will play a small-town celeb; she spends her free time trying to handle the challenges presented by her offbeat family and friends.

Janetti currently serves as co-exec producer on CBS’ “Bette” and as a supervising producer on Fox’s “Family Guy.” He has an overall deal with 20th; Oteri inked a series development deal with the Eye last summer (Daily Variety, Aug. 28.)

While Eye has only made a pilot commitment, the web’s deal with Oteri guarantees her a 13-episode payday even if the pilot isn’t picked up. Oteri’s feature credits include “Scary Movie” and “Liar, Liar.”

Married ‘Life’

The Eye net’s other 20th/CBSP project is “Life with David J,” which stars comedian David J. Nash as formerly goofy bachelor who finds his dream girl, marries her — and then realizes he has no clue what he’s gotten himself into. Pilot will be written by Nash and Strauss, and based on Nash’s stand-up comedy.

Strauss, who also exec-produced “Then Came You,” will exec-produce with Acme Prods. principals Mindy Schultheis and Michael Hanel. Nash and Rick Dorfman are set as producers.

Nash, who had a holding deal at CBS, was tapped as most talented new face at last year’s Montreal comedy fest. Strauss is based at 20th.

Tambor’s cooking

Over at ABC, the Tambor project, tentatively titled “Man of the Kitchen,” stars the thesp — best known for his work as Hank Kingsley on “Larry Sanders” — as the host of a TV cooking series. Ensemble laffer will include a show-within-a-show element and focus on relationships of the romantic and culinary kind.

“Man of the Kitchen” comes from Touchstone and DreamWorks Television; Michael Borkow, Nina Wass and Gene Stein exec-produce. Tambor has a talent holding deal at ABC, while Borkow, who wrote the script, is set up at DreamWorks.

Beyond “Larry Sanders,” Tambor’s diverse credits also include films such as “Pollock,” “There’s Something About Mary” and “Girl, Interrupted,” as well as series such as “Everything’s Relative,” “Mr. Sunshine” and “The Ropers.”

Borkow’s credits include stints as an executive producer on “Friends” and producer on “Roseanne.”

ABC hits ‘Mark’

Alphabet’s Brady pilot is tentatively titled “Mark of Greatness.” The Touchstone laffer follows the exploits of an irreverent young guy who’s a fifth-grade teacher and amateur daredevil. The lead character follows the philosophy of extreme stunts in everyday life.

Besides “Just Shoot Me,” Brady’s other credits include the screenplay to “South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut,” as well as writing and providing a voice for the small-screen version of “South Park.”

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