Projects landed at ABC, Fox, Comedy Central
“Seinfeld” scribe-producer Carol Leifer has set up sitcom projects at ABC and Fox and inked a deal with Comedy Central for her first standup special in nearly a decade.
Fox project, to be produced by Par-based Big Ticket Television, will be a half-hour inspired by the popular femme-focused Web site VivianLives.com. Net and studio are still in negotiations over the specifics of the deal.
Brad Grey Television is producing the ABC project, a half-hour laffer about a dysfunctional family.
Leifer will write and exec produce both projects. Howard Klein will exec produce “Vivian Lives,” with site creator Sherrie Krantz serving as co-exec producer. Grey also is onboard as exec producer of the ABC laffer.
Comedy Central spec will tape next month at New York’s Hudson Theater and will likely be broadcast in February. It comes as Leifer, most recently exec producer of “The Ellen Show,” mounts an aggressive return to the comedy-club circuit, playing numerous dates around the country — including a two-night gig opening for Jerry Seinfeld Jan. 17-18 in Cincinnati.
Indeed, despite having set up two sitcom projects at major webs, Leifer seems particularly psyched to be back in front of live audiences after a decade of working on small-screen skeins ranging from “Seinfeld,” “The Larry Sanders Show” and “It’s like, you know…” to her own WB laffer “Alright Already.”
“Standup is really at the core of who I am,” Leifer told Daily Variety. “The thing I always say about standup is, most people’s greatest fear is having to stand in front of a group of strangers and speak. A comedian’s greatest fear is not being able to go up in front of a large group of people and speak.”
Leifer caught the standup bug last year when Seinfeld asked her to play some dates with him.
“I hadn’t done a week at a comedy club in many years,” she said. “But Jerry asked me to do some tour dates with him, and I didn’t want to say no.”
As for the two sitcom projects, Leifer is mum about the details of the ABC laffer.
“Vivian Lives,” however, will be a small-screen offshoot of the Web site created by Krantz, which chronicles the fictitious adventures of a 26-year-old small-town girl who ends up in Gotham working as a VH1 publicist.
Three-year-old site gets between 8 million and 10 million hits per month and features a mix of fictional narrative and real advice, filtered through the eyes of a young woman the Washington Post described as a “cross between Carrie Bradshaw and Lara Croft.”
Leifer, however, said the Vivian at the heart of her laffer won’t be as picture-perfect as those other cultural icons. “Hopefully, the show will speak to women in that Bridget Jones underdog kind of way,” she said.
Big Ticket prexy Larry Lyttle said Leifer — who penned such classic “Seinfeld” segs as “The Rye” and “The Lip Reader” — is the right scribe to translate Vivian from Web to tube.
“There’s a free-spirit quality about Carol and the ways she views the world and can patch into how young women are thinking,” Lyttle said. “She’s a rare combination: someone with a poignant sense of humor and an intelligent subtext.”
While Leifer has no plans to appear in front of the camera for the ABC or Fox projects, she is lending her voice to toon “The Alan Brady Show,” in development for Nick at Nite. She’ll play Tilly, a comedy writer on the fictitious show-within-a-show inspired by “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
Leifer is repped by CAA and 3 Arts Entertainment. Pls keep in