Shingle in tube blitz
Producers Grant Scharbo and Gina Matthews (“What Women Want”) have set up a half-dozen TV projects at three networks this fall, including collaborations with Brett Ratner, Mark Pellington and comic Mike Birbiglia.Matthews and Scharbo are exec producing via their TV and feature shingle Roundtable Ink. Most projects are set up at 20th Century Fox TV, where Roundtable is in the second year of a first-look pact. One exception is “Mike Birbiglia’s Secret Public Journal,” a half-hour NBC comedy script from scribe-exec producer Andy Secunda (“Late Night With Conan O’Brien”). NBC U TV Studio is producing the project, with Birbiglia attached to star and produce via a talent holding deal. Potential skein will be loosely based on Birbiglia’s own life. “The crux of the show is the conflict between his unconventional dream of being a standup comic and his family and girlfriend, who are always edging him toward a more safe direction,” Secunda said. “It’s about how hard it is to stay on track when everyone around you is telling you you’re unrealistic.” In addition to a two-year gig on “Late Night,” Secunda created the UPN laffer “Love, Inc.” Roundtable’s 2007-08 slate includes two projects with helmers already attached — Ratner’s previously announced “Blue Blood” and an untitled hour to be helmed by Pellington (“Arlington Road,” “The Mothman Prophecies”). Directors used to wait until pilot season to come aboard TV projects, but that’s changing across the medium. “It’s really important for these shows to stand out and for networks to know what the look is,” Scharbo said. “For us, developing with two sought-after directors only strengthens our hand.” Pellington is teaming with feature scribes Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay (“Crazy/Beautiful”) for an hour at Fox about a noted psychiatric clinician and professor who — after suffering a nervous breakdown — becomes involved in consulting on high-profile cases. “She’s very flawed and funny and passionate, but she also has a lot of issues and can be very dark,” Matthews said. Manfredi, Hay and Pellington will exec produce, with Pellington attached to direct. Idea for the show was generated by Seth Howard, who’ll be a producer. Several nets bid for the project. Ratner’s “Blue Blood,” from scribe-exec producer Neil Tolkin, revolves around New York rookie cops (Daily Variety, July 21). It’s set up at Fox. Also at Fox, Roundtable has sold “Eraser,” an hour from scribes J. Israel Miller and M.A. Fortin. Skein follows Frank Smith, a suburban dad whose job it is to help people drop out and vanish from their daily lives. “It taps into the Zeitgeist of people wanting to disappear from their lives,” Matthews said. “It’s sort of ‘Nip/Tuck’ in tone.” Scharbo and Matthews are working with scribes Terri Hughes and Ron Milbauer (“Tucker”) on an untitled dramedy about a covert team of NSA agents who apply their job skills to their personal lives. They’ll exec produce the project, which is set up at Fox. On the cable front, Roundtable said it has set up “The Human Zoo” at Lifetime. Emma Forrest (“Cherries in the Snow”) is writing the hour, a sort of “All About Eve” set at a Gotham newspaper. Earlier this season, Roundtable also set up the ABC drama “Class 11,” from scribe-exec producer Jeff Nachmanoff (“The Day After Tomorrow”). It’s about the first CIA class after 9/11. Still to be sold to a network: a spec drama from scribe Alex Litvak. Last season, Litvak set up “The Score” at Fox. Details on the new project are being kept mum for now. Roundtable signed Litvak to a blind script deal earlier this year and decided to once again develop his project on spec. Networks will hear the project later this month or in December. Matthews and Scharbo, who are attached as exec producers on all of their projects, are repped by UTA and Bloom Hergott. Matthews co-created the WB’s cult drama “Popular,” and the duo exec produced “The Mountain” and “Jake 2.0.”
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