Production company offers scripted fare
“Queer Eye” creator Scout Prods. is returning to its scripted roots, setting up comedy projects at Showtime and ABC Family.Company, founded by partners David Collins and Michael Williams, has upped Rob Eric to exec VP of scripted and alternative entertainment, charging him with bulking up its scripted slate. At Showtime, Scout has set up “The Beard,” a half-hour from scribe Maria Maggenti (“Puccini for Beginners,” “The Incredibly True Story of Two Girls in Love”). Potential skein is a romantic comedy about a pro baseball player who’s gay and has to form a relationship with a woman in order to survive in the sports world. Billy Bean, the former Dodgers and Padres player who came out of the closet in 1999, will serve as a consultant on the project. Jack Lechner (“Mad Men”) will produce. “It’s a comedy of errors, strikes and runs,” Eric told Daily Variety. “It has its slapsticky moments and its sweet comedy moments.” ABC Family, meanwhile, is developing the Scout-produced script “The Deads,” from scribes Bill Masters (“Seinfeld”) and Tim Griffin (“Entourage”). Project focuses on a 300-year-old family of witches who return from the dead and move into a modern-day suburb that’s a lot like the puritanical society they left behind. “It’s the ultimate fish-out-of-water story,” Eric said. Scout is exec producing “Cheerleader Camp,” MTV’s mashup of “Scream” and “Mean Girls” that the cabler announced it was developing last month. Charlie Bohl is writing the pilot. All three TV projects were developed inhouse at Scout. Company is developing a TV project with Howard Rodman, the scribe behind the upcoming Josh Hartnett pic “August.” Lechner is exec producing. On the feature side, Scout is producing the previously announced Brad Anderson feature “Transsiberian,” which stars Woody Harrelson and Ben Kingsley (Daily Variety, Dec. 1). While best known for the Bravo breakthrough skein “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” Scout began its life on the scripted side, with Williams and Collins producing indie film projects. Williams won the Oscar in 2003 for Errol Morris’ “The Fog of War.” Eric said Scout’s brand is the same whether it’s doing scripted or reality. “It’s about interesting stories well told,” he said. “That’s what we’ve been known for in alternative, and bringing that to scripted is very important to us.” Collins said promoting Eric to exec VP is a key to expanding Scout’s reach. Exec “has a unique creative prowess and has shown a keen eye at creating, identifying and developing projects that continue to further expand Scout’s brand,” Collins said. On the alternative front, Scout recently wrapped the first season of Sundance Channel’s “Big Ideas for a Small Planet” and is producing “Sox Appeal” for New England Sports Network.