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Humanitas sets first project

Shonda Rhimes to supervise script

The first fruit of Humanitas Prods. is a drama project from thesp-scribe Cullen Douglas.

Shonda Rhimes, creator/exec producer of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice” and a Humanitas org trustee, will supervise the writing and serve as an exec producer should the project be ordered to pilot. The Douglas script will be developed internally before being shopped to prospective nets.

Humanitas org, known for the kudos it gives annually to film and TV scribes, also has a partnership with the Assn. of National Advertisers’ Alliance for Family Entertainment, an initiative to foster the development of family-friendly TV programming.

With the Douglas script and several prospective Alliance for Family Entertainment projects in the pipeline, Humanitas Prods. has tapped former Mandalay TV and Bedford Falls exec Robin Budd to serve as exec veep overseeing development. Producer Ronnie Clemmer, who was tapped to launch Humanitas Prods. last year, has shifted to a consulting and producing role for the org.

Humanitas org prexy John Wells and exec director Cathleen Young have spearheaded the org’s push into production and the appointment of Budd.

“The goal of Humanitas Prods. is to develop outstanding programming that is entertaining and uplifting,” Wells said. “To oversee that development, we needed a seasoned television producer with a creative vision in line with the kinds of stories Humanitas has honored for over three decades.”

The specifics of the Douglas project are still being worked out. As a thesp, he has logged guest shots in a host of primetime skeins, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “True Blood,” and “CSI: NY.” He’s penned screenplays and the one-man play “Afraid to Look Down,” about his experiences as the father of a son with Down syndrome.

Rhimes called Douglas “a very talented actor and a wonderful writer.” Humanitas’ goal is to have members of its board of trustees, which includes such notable showrunners as Neal Baer, Damon Lindelof, Carol Mendelsohn and David Shore, help shepherd projects from promising scribes.

Budd spent the past three years as senior veep of Mandalay Television. Before that she was a creative exec for a dozen years at Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz’s Bedford Falls banner.

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