Laffer to roll out midseason
CBS has finally sent an RSVP to “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” picking up a small-screen version of the smash indie film for midseason.
The Eye has officially ordered seven episodes of the half-hour laffer, which comes from Brad Grey Television, in association with Sony Pictures Television and Playtone Prods. That number could increase, however, as the series producers are in negotiations with the web to bump the pickup to 13.
Nia Vardalos, who originated and starred in the one-woman show, which Playtone turned into the feature pic, wrote the pilot with Marsh McCall (“Just Shoot Me”). CAA-repped McCall will exec produce, along with Brad Grey and Rita Wilson; Vardalos will serve as co-exec producer.
Wilson’s involvement has become the stuff of legends: The actress fell in love with the play and was instrumental in bringing husband Tom Hanks’ Playtone banner on board.
Grey said that he was originally interested in the project because “it seemed like a wonderful CBS comedy. It seemed like it would complement their schedule very well. It has great warmth and is just very funny.”
‘Even more potential’
Following the pic’s success, Grey is even more optimistic about the show’s chances.
“It’s become so popular around the country, it feels like there’s even more potential and an audience that’s been built around it,” he said.
Just like the feature, the TV “Greek Wedding” will star Vardalos as a woman whose life revolves around a traditional Greek family. Series will pick up as Vardalos’ character starts dating a non-Greek man behind her parents’ back.
CBS initially gave the project a hefty put-pilot commitment last October, and although the net didn’t pick up “Greek Wedding” for fall, it ordered an additional three scripts in late May.
As the feature continued to explode throughout the summer and now appears poised to pass “The Blair Witch Project” as the biggest-grossing indie film of all time, picking up a TV version became a no-brainer for CBS.
Besides Vardalos, who recently signed with UTA (and is repped by Brillstein-Grey), Michael Constantine and Lainie Kazan, who played Vardalos’ parents in the pic, are expected to reprise their characters in the series. Louis Mandylor is also likely to return as brother Nick.
John Corbett, who starred in the movie as Vardalos’ love interest, is starring in FX’s upcoming series “Lucky.”
(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)