CBS has made a fat put-pilot commitment to a half-hour laffer from scribes Marsh McCall (“Just Shoot Me”) and Nia Vardalos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”).
Skein — to be produced by Brad Grey Television in association with Columbia TriStar TV and Playtone Prods. — will be based upon Vardalos’ experiences as a Greek American. McCall and Vardalos will pen the pilot script, with McCall onboard as exec producer and Vardalos set to star in the series.
Vardalos wrote and starred in the one-woman autobiographical show “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” which has been turned into a feature pic by Playtone.
IFC Films has come onboard as a distributor of the filmed version of “Wedding,” which has a May 3 release date.
While the CBS skein will not be an adaptation of the play or pic, it will borrow elements of both — particularly the culture clash that emerges when Vardalos’ character falls for a WASP-y vegetarian.
After establishing the mismatched relationship, “the (series) will spin off into new territory,” Vardalos said. “There were so many stories I couldn’t cram into the show or movie.”
McCall was shown a videotape of Vardalos’ perf at the 2001 Montreal comedy fest and was instantly struck “by the quality of the material and how good she was as a performer. … I thought at the very least, I’d have a lot of fun doing this.”
Joel Zwick directed the feature version of “Wedding,” which was produced by Rita Wilson, and Playtone’s Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. Wilson became a fan of the legit production during its workshop phase in 1997, then came onboard to produce its 1998 run at the Globe Theater in West Hollywood. Hanks and Goetzman subsequently decided to produce a feature based on the play, which stars Vardalos, John Corbett and Joey Fatone.
While the CBS project is only a pilot, McCall and Vardalos have high hopes for the future of their franchise.
“There’ll be stuffed animals and T-shirts and little Socrates dolls,” McCall said.
Brillstein-Grey reps Vardalos, while McCall’s deal was brokered by CAA.