‘Worst’ comes first

'Hairspray' helmer takes on Fox's Britcom revival

Before he directs “Hairspray,” Adam Shankman is making time for “Worst Week of My Life.”

Meanwhile, CBS has given the pilot greenlight to a new hour from “CSI” showrunner Carol Mendelsohn, Fox is picking up a project from ex-“Friends” showrunners Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen, and ABC is moving forward with “Men in Trees,” the superstar collaboration of helmer James Mangold (“Walk the Line”), scribe Jenny Bicks (“Sex and the City”) and producer Cathy Konrad (Daily Variety, Nov. 29, 2005).

Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, the Oscar-winning feature producers behind “American Beauty” and “Big Fish,” have also snagged an Alphabet greenlight, while Sony Pictures Television got the thumbs up for two projects from a pair of pods based at the studio: Pariah and 25 C Prods.

As for Shankman, he’s aboard to direct the pilot of Fox Broadcasting’s adaptation of the Britcom, which Ed Decter and John Strauss (“There’s Something About Mary”) are penning. Regency Television and Hat Trick Prods. are producing the project, which snagged a pilot greenlight last month (Daily Variety, Dec. 12).

Skein will chronicle the week leading up to a couple’s wedding, with every episode focusing on a single day. The UTA-repped Shankman has tackled this subject matter before: He directed Jennifer Lopez’s 2001 feature “The Wedding Planner,” which brought in close to $100 million worldwide.

Shankman’s other feature credits include “Cheaper by the Dozen 2,” “The Pacifier,” “Bringing Down the House” and “A Walk to Remember.”

On the pilot pickup watch:

  • Mendelsohn’s untitled hour revolves around a group of smart legal associates trying to make partner while dealing with a host of moral, ethical and legal challenges — and a Gordon Gekko-type managing partner. Mendelsohn wrote and will exec produce for CBS Par Network Television.

It’s the first non-“CSI” pilot to spring from any of the “CSI” trinity of showrunners — Anthony Zuiker, Ann Donahue and Mendelsohn— since the crime franchise launched. Should the project get ordered to series, Mendelsohn would continue with “CSI” as showrunner, a Par rep said.

  • Warner Bros. TV is producing ABC’s “The Traveler,” from scribe David Digilio and helmer David Nutter (“Without a Trace,” “Smallville”). Project’s a thriller a la “Three Days of the Condor” that revolves around two friends who go on the run after they’re betrayed by the most trusted person in their lives; all three are now considered threats to national security.

A la “Lost,” project will feature flashbacks to the trio’s life together in college to shine a light on the lie that was their friendship.

  • Mangold has now agreed to direct “Men in Trees” for ABC. WBTV project revolves around a relationship expert who ends up stuck in Alaska. Bicks wrote the pilot and will exec produce with Mangold and Konrad.

  • Reich and Cohen’s Fox laffer is dubbed “If You Lived Here, You’d Be Home by Now” and is being produced by CBS Paramount Network TV. Single-camera half-hour’s about a group of young friends living in an Oakwood-style apartment complex.

  • Ajay Sahgal is behind CBS’ “The Angriest Man in Suburbia,” which revolves around a married father dealing with the pesky problems of everyday life. He wrote and will exec produce with Sony’s Gavin Polone and Jamie Tarses.

Tarses was an exec producer on “Nevermind Nirvana,” a Sahgal project that NBC passed on after a year of development hell. “Angriest Man” reps the first network pilot pickup for Pariah partners Tarses and Polone since the two got into business together last year.

  • Claudia Grazioso and Steven Banks are writing and exec producing a drama for ABC about women at a law firm. Sony, via Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly’s 25 C, is producing the pilot, which is said to have a “Desperate Housewives” tone.

  • Fox officially confirmed its greenlight for 20th laffer “The Adventures of Big Handsome Guy and His Little Friend,” a half-hour single-camera comedy pilot from scribes Josh Sternin and Jeff Ventimilia (“Mr. Woodcock”) that stars Hayes MacArthur and Jason Winer (Daily Variety, Dec. 8).
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