Columbia, Happy Madison snap up comedy

Columbia Pictures and Happy Madison have made a preemptive acquisition for the feature writing debut of bestselling author Mitch Albom, which will be developed as a star vehicle for Happy Madison partner Adam Sandler.

The untitled project is a comedy with emotional elements set in the world of baseball. Deal, brought in by Happy Madison exec Heather Parry, sees Albom return to his stomping grounds. He cut his teeth as a sports columnist for the Detroit Free Press.

Albom’s books “Tuesdays With Morrie,” “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” and, most recently, “For One More Day” have been turned into telepics. Albom scripted “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” and “For One More Day,” the latter of which is in pre-production as an “Oprah Winfrey Presents” project through ABC.

Happy Madison is producing Sandler’s next several star vehicles. He’ll be seen this summer in the Universal comedy “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry,” and next stars in the Dennis Dugan-directed Columbia laffer “You Don’t Mess With the Zohan,” which Sandler wrote with Judd Apatow. Sandler follows with the Adam Shankman-directed Disney comedy “Bedtime Stories.”

Albom was repped by CAA.

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