Family sitcom takes documentary approach

ABC has given a put pilot order to a family laffer from comedy scribes Steven Levitan and Chris Lloyd.

Levitan and Lloyd, who created last season’s Fox sitcom “Back to You,” are crafting a single-camera comedy about three families, shot documentary-style through the eyes of a Dutch filmmaker.

Alphabet has agreed to a significant penalty on the project, which comes from 20th Century Fox TV, where the duo’s Levitan/Lloyd banner is based. ABC is said to be high on the project and hopes to go straight to pilot, allowing for earlier casting and shooting.

Untitled laffer will revolve around a traditional married couple and their three kids; an older guy, his younger wife and their adopted son; and a gay couple who have just adopted an Asian infant.

All three families live in the same suburb, and there’s a common thread that brings them all together. The Dutch documentarian, meanwhile, has returned to the U.S., where he lived with one of the American characters as an exchange student 15 or 20 years ago.

“We wanted to give the documentary style a little twist and look at the idea of an American family from the outsider’s point of view,” Lloyd said.

Levitan and Lloyd said the idea for the show came out of their personal lives; both have children of their own.

“We’d come in and tell these weird stories about our kids and realized we wanted to tap into that,” Levitan said. “But we didn’t want to feel like a soft, cutesy family show. This will be presented in a way that will be very relatable to people of all ages.”

Levitan and Lloyd said they’re still not happy with how “Back to You” was canceled, but that they’re “moving on.”

“We’re at the right place now; we have a good feeling about ABC,” they said. “That was our first and foremost consideration, finding where we thought the show would have the best place to succeed.”

Levitan and Lloyd’s credits include “Frasier” and “Wings”; Levitan was also behind “Just Shoot Me,” while Lloyd also handled the critically acclaimed but short-lived “Out of Practice.”

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