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Original sets pilots at Fox

Moritz sets 2 for TV

Neal Moritz’s Original banner has set up a pair of high-profile projects at Fox, including a put pilot from “Evan Almighty” scribes Bobby Florsheim and Josh Stolberg.

Original has also sold the Josh Lobis and Darin Moiselle-penned laffer “Macho Steve” to Fox, with the network attaching a significant penalty to its script commitment.

Projects rep the first full season of development for Original since Moritz split up with ex-partner Marty Adelstein, inked a new two-year TV deal with Sony, and hired former Pariah exec Vivian Cannon to run the division.

Shingle has had a busy development season, setting up a slew of other comedies and dramas at various nets around town. Moritz and Cannon are attached as exec producers on all of the company’s development.

Florsheim/Stolberg project, dubbed “Think Tank,” is a single-camera laffer about a collection of quirky geniuses brought together by a nutty billionaire to help solve the planet’s problems.

“It’s a great fish out of water story,” Cannon said. “It’s really got Josh and Bobby’s sensibility, which is funny but with an emotional center to it.”

Scribes are already in business with Moritz on the feature side, setting up the comedy “Man-Witch” at Warner Bros. Florsheim and Stolberg also wrote “The Passion of the Arc,” the script that Moritz and Sony snatched up to use as the basis for the movie that became U’s “Evan Almighty” (Daily Variety, May 14, 2004). Steve Oedekerk is the most recent scribe attached to “Evan.”

As for Lobis and Moiselle, duo’s Fox half-hour “Macho Steve” revolves around “the last real manly man–a.k.a. the ‘retrosexual’,” according to producers. Pilot will show what happens when Steve moves to Los Angeles.

Cannon said she was impressed with the Lobis/Moiselle script for “That Guy,” a comedy that Fox piloted in the spring. “It was one of the first things I read when I got here, and I was relentless about pursuing them,” she said.

As for the rest of Original’s inaugural Sony TV slate, Cannon said she took her cue from Moritz’s feature strategy.

“Neal is great at making really commercial movies for very specific audiences,” she said. “That’s how we approached TV. We wanted to sell shows we wanted to watch.”

Among the other scripts Original and Sony have closed deals on:

  • “N.O.C.,” a one-hour actioner from scribe Jeff Eastin set up at the CW. Every week, a civilian with a highly-specialized skill is recruited into a “Mission: Impossible”-style government agency, letting someone play James Bond for a day.

  • An untitled drama from scribe Robert Horn, also at the CW. Script is about a newlywed couple who work together in a family law firm where divorce cases are key.

  • “Battlestar Galactica” co-exec producer Toni Graphia is behind “Dime,” a potential Fox drama about a female ex-con who’s working in a DA’s office.

  • “Dirty Birds,” a single-camera comedy at ABC about three women in their sexual prime. Susan McMartin is writing the script.

Original is repped by CAA.

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