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Paul Rust tops NBC laffer

Sitcom based on thesp's stint as Wal-mart employee

NBC is developing a half-hour sitcom from thesp-scribe Paul Rust based on his stint as a Wal-Mart employee.

Untitled project is set up at Universal Media Studios through Conan O’Brien’s Conaco shingle. Rust would write and star as himself.

Following his graduation from the U. of Iowa, Rust returned to his small hometown — LeMars, Iowa — where he got a job at Wal-Mart — only to find that his co-workers included his former high school principal.

Rust said the project came about after he met with Conaco topper David Kissinger, and recounted his experience at Wal-Mart.

“David said he always thought there could be a sitcom at a Wal-Mart-type place,” Rust said. “I went off and came up with this idea. It’s basically what would happen if I hadn’t left town, what my life would have been like.”

In Rust’s script, however, Wal-Mart has been replaced by a fictional big-box store.

“Based on some of the ideas I’m coming up with, I don’t think it’s something Wal-Mart would want its name on,” he said. “This is the beginning of a long-running career in which I base things on industries that could cripple me legally.”

As an actor, Rust recently starred opposite Hayden Panettiere in “I Love You, Beth Cooper,” and also appeared in “Inglourious Basterds.”

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