A ‘Slice o’ Garofalo

U TV polishes Diamond for laffer

Comedian Janeane Garofalo has partnered with scribe Bill Diamond (“Murphy Brown”) to develop a laffer project for ABC.

“Slice o’ Life,” which comes from Universal Network Television, would star Garofalo as a behind-the-scenes producer on a prestigious newsmagazine show. Diamond, who created the concept, and Garofalo will serve as exec producers.

“The joke around here has been that every year there are a dozen pilots written for ‘Janeane Garofalo types,’ and — imagine our good fortune — here we are getting to do a series with the real thing,” said Sarah Timberman, president, programming, Universal Network Television.

Alphabet web has sealed a premium script commitment for “Slice o’ Life” and has also given Garofalo a series commitment.

“I’m pleased to be in business with Uni Studios and the Mouse House for a laffer with scribe Bill Diamond, and I look forward to a long run with this skein and hope never to have to ankle the Alphabet Web,” Garofolo said, doing her best Varietyspeak impersonation. “I’d have more to say, but I’m preparing for my first colonoscopy. Gotta run.”

“Slice o’ Life” will be shot in New York as a single-camera laffer. Garofalo’s character, a mid-30s woman who produces the hokey feature pieces that air at the end of the newsmagazine, leads the ensemble.

Like “Murphy Brown,” “Slice” revolves around a strong female at a newsmagazine. But the similarities end there.

While “Murphy” involved the world of Washington and an anchorwoman at the top of her game, “Slice” focuses on popular culture from the p.o.v. of a character still paying her dues.

“This show is about the compromises you make along the way while trying to hold on to your principals,” said Diamond, who has an overall deal at Universal. “All of us have dreams, and all of us have to pay our dues.”

Project will also include a “show-within-a-show” element, as “Slice o’ Life’s” fictional newsmag tackles quirky, reality-based subjects.

“Every day I look at the newspaper and see stories like this guy who’s sitting in a tree in the west Valley,” Diamond said. “This will allow me to tell stories that start in a whole different place.”

Meanwhile, Diamond said he plans to tap into Garofalo’s acerbic wit and original outlook on life.

“She’s such a great observer of what’s going on in our culture,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll find situations that will bring out her sensibility. Janeane’s not the kind of typical, conventional half-hour comedy star. It would be a shame not to create something unconventional.”

Garofalo’s regular TV stints include the uncredited voice of Sally on the WB drama “Felicity.” She also starred as Paula on HBO’s “The Larry Sanders Show,” spent a season on “Saturday Night Live” and was a regular on Fox’s acclaimed but short-lived “Ben Stiller Show.”

The thesp’s wide-ranging screen credits include “The Truth About Cats & Dogs,” “Reality Bites,” “Wet Hot American Summer” and “Big Trouble.” Thesp is repped by Gersh and the Rath Welker Co.

“We’ve always been fans of her smart, unique comedic voice and are so glad Bill and Universal were able to woo her to network television,” said Stephanie Leifer, senior VP of comedy programming at ABC.

Diamond, who’s repped by William Morris Agency, was exec producer of “Murphy Brown” from 1995 to 1997. He first joined the show as co-producer in 1993, moving up the ranks from there.

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