Writer takes on 'Romeos,' 'Dirty,' 'Flintstones'
“Samantha Who?” scribe Marco Pennette has a trio of projects in the works, including a music-based drama at ABC.Hourlong drama “The Romeos” will center on four young men in the 1960s who eventually become the nation’s biggest rock stars. Period piece will be loaded with tunes, written by Broadway composer Jeff Marx (“Avenue Q”). “The Romeos” takes place in Ypsilanti, Mich., in 1965, as the four 22-year-olds at the heart of the show first pick up their instruments. Drama will be told from the modern day, looking back at the band members before they became famous. The plotline will be advanced via documentary-style interviews with characters looking back on the band’s early days. If it sounds a tad like the short-lived WB drama “Jack and Bobby,” there’s a reason: Pennette is penning the project with “Jack and Bobby” alums Brad Meltzer and Steve Cohen. All three would exec produce. ABC Studios, where Pennette is in the midst of a two-year overall deal, is behind the project. Also at ABC, Pennette is developing the half-hour laffer “Straight Up and Dirty,” based on the book by comic Stephanie Klein. Klein is writing the script, and Pennette is supervising. “Straight Up” is based on Klein’s own life, having pulled herself up after a tough divorce. Brillstein Entertainment Partners is behind the single-camera laffer. Pennette also is expanding to stage: Scribe is close to signing on to write the book for a musical based on “The Flintstones.” The legit production, aimed at Broadway, will come from Warner Bros. Theater Ventures. Pennette was brought in by Marx, who’s writing the music and lyrics with Jake Anthony. Gary Griffin (“The Color Purple”) is directing. Pennette’s script will rely on contemporary issues: Wilma, for example, mulls leaving Fred because he still acts too much like a caveman and hasn’t adapted to more modern ways. Barney and Betty tackle fertility issues before deciding to adopt. Musical will also tackle global warming — but in this case, as “The Flintstones” takes place before the ice age, the characters will confront “global cooling.” Beyond “Samantha,” Pennette’s credits include “Ugly Betty,” “The Hughleys,” “Inconceivable” and “I’m With Her.” He also co-created “Caroline in the City.”