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Endemol slates scripted shows

Studio developing projects at four networks

Reality powerhouse Endemol USA is stepping up its efforts to expand into scripted programming, setting up projects at four networks and inking a pair of talent holding deals.

Under recently appointed division topper Jeremy Gold, the “Deal or No Deal” studio is developing hourlong projects at FX and the CW, with half-hour comedies in the works at ABC Family and TBS. Concepts range from a horseracing-themed family drama to a high-concept laffer about an accidental fairy godfather.

Talent inked to holding deals include comic Mike Pace and the improv troupe Chubby Skinny Kids.

Gold said Endemol is looking to come up with ideas that grab attention in the manner of “Fear Factor” and “Big Brother,” which put Endemol on the map as a reality player in the States.

“The goal is for our scripted shows to be as noisy as our unscripted projects,” he said.

And since Endemol is part of an international conglom, the company is looking for ideas with export potential.

“We look for universality to a concept so it could work well within the entire Endemol universe,” Gold said. “I already have interest in several projects from other territories.”

Gold’s boss, Endemol USA topper David Goldberg, said he expects to partner with other studios on some projects but is also willing to stake his own coin on certain ideas.

“If the (financial) number isn’t astronomical, and we think there’s international appeal, we’ll do some deficit financing of projects,” he said. “It’ll be case by case.”

Goldberg said Gold — who came to Endemol last year from his gig heading up comedy at Fox — has made “nice progress” setting up Endemol’s first slate of scripted ideas.

“He’s been successful in attracting some good talent,” he said.

“The strategy and expectation was to introduce ourselves to the community, get Jeremy armed with some development resources and then unleash him.”

Gold’s staff includes Jordan Feiner and Sean Loughlin, who serve as manager and coordinator of scripted programming, respectively.

On the comedy front, Endemol has sold “Larry Godfather” to ABC Family. Penned by Mark Palmer (“Kim Possible”), the ensemble comedy revolves around a 21-year-old guy who discovers that while he appears to be human, he’s actually a fairy godfather.

“He’s lived all his life thinking he was a human, but he was switched at birth,” Gold said. “He’s part of the next generation of fairy godmothers. The older ones are being put out to pasture.”

For TBS, Endemol is developing a multicamera half-hour about a no-B.S. Southern judge who balances her busy career with a crazy family life. Brian Hargrove, exec producer of the Fox laffer “Titus,” is writing the pilot script.

Meanwhile, the FX project is a family drama set at Churchill Downs amid the world of thoroughbred horseracing. Bruce Marshall Romans is writing the pilot for the show, which is loosely based on his own family.

At the CW, Joe Livecchi (“She Spies”) and Ann Hamilton (“Grey’s Anatomy”) created “Nanny Dallas,” a comedic drama revolving around four families and their four nannies. Pilot, to be written by Hamilton, is set in a gated community in Dallas.

The CW considers the project part of its early slate of 2008 development and could make a pilot pickup over the summer if it decides to go forward with the project.

As for its talent deals, Endemol inked Chubby Skinny Kids after seeing the group’s sitcom script “We Are Internet Millionaires.” Group consists of Upright Citizens Brigade vets Dan Gregor, Doug Mand and Adam Pally.

“Their brand of comedy is youthful, a bit self-deprecating and a little bit dangerous,” Gold said. In addition to securing their acting services, Endemol also has inked a blind script deal with the trio.

Paceis a standup from the Midwest who’s done extensive touring and has appeared in several TV shows, including “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Pace will be paired with another writer to develop a half-hour based on his family life. Management shingle ROAR is attached to exec produce.

“He’s got a great voice that he’s honed over years of performing comedy,” Gold said. “He has a lot to talk about.”

While Endemol USA’s scripted slate is mostly filled with originals, Gold said he’s also looking to import some ideas from other Endemol outlets around the world.

“We’re developing in both directions,” he said.

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