'Empire' comedy about eccentric billionaire

Kelsey Grammer has joined the cast of ABC comedy pilot “Roman’s Empire,” from Ashton Kutcher’s Katalyst Films, CBS Paramount Network TV and ABC Studios.

Grammer, coming off the canceled Fox laffer “Back to You,” will play an eccentric billionaire in the comedy about a guy who can’t get away from his ex-girlfriend’s wealthy family. Cast also includes comic Nick Thune, who inked a development pact with ABC and ABC Studios this year (Daily Variety, March 3).

Lensing on the single-camera comedy began over the weekend.

“Empire” is based on a British comedy of the same name from comedy shop Tiger Aspect, which is also a co-producer on the U.S. rendition.

ABC pilot was penned by Al Higgins. Exec producers include Kutcher, Jason Goldberg, Karey Burke, Andrew Zein and Ben Cavey.

Grammer is repped by CAA.

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