'Friends' scribe to develop ABC sitcom 'Freshmen'
Sitcom scribe Greg Malins (“Friends”) has partnered with Huffington Post maven Arianna Huffington to develop a sitcom for ABC set in the world of politics.“Freshmen” revolves around a group of three newly elected members of Congress — two men and one woman — who wind up sharing an apartment in Washington. Multi-camera half-hour comes from 20th Century Fox TV, where Malins is in the middle of an overall deal. Malins will exec produce with Huffington and Roy Sekoff, the founding editor of the Huffington Post. “I’ve always been a political guy, following all that stuff, and I always knew I wanted to do a show there,” Malins said. “But I hadn’t found the way in, the thing that would give me that show. But once I discovered that members of Congress often live together, I said, ‘there’s your show right there.’ ” In D.C., politicos who room together include Democratic politicians Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, George Miller and Bill Delahunt, who all share a rented house. As for Huffington and Sekoff, Malins said he’s an avid reader of the Huffington Post and took a meeting with the duo to get some advice on how to create the show. “It was a perfect pairing,” Malins said. “They threw out some ideas, and I even stole from Arianna’s life and put it in the show.” Malins said Huffington and Sekoff are also cooking up Internet tie-ins to the project, such as putting together campaign websites for the show’s characters, coinciding with next year’s midterm elections. “Freshman’s” characters will come from all walks of the political world — one left-leaning, one right-leaning and one independent. But Malins doesn’t plan to dwell on the characters’ party affiliations, although he said it will be clear who’s a Democrat or a Republican. The characters’ backgrounds will also be varied: One has a wife back home, while one is single and a third is just recently divorced. “The stories are endless,” Malins said of the D.C. setting. “They’re all crazy (in D.C.). These characters will write themselves.” Malins’ resume includes serving as exec producer on smash laffers “Friends” and “Will and Grace,” as well as showrunner on critical fave “How I Met Your Mother.” It’s a busy development season for Malins, who’s also working on a comedy-minded criminal drama for Fox with mystery novelist Harlan Coben. As for Huffington, the political pundit is already well-versed in the world of TV comedy: She stars as the voice of “Arianna” the bear on Fox’s upcoming “The Cleveland Show.”