Christina Wayne to pitch comedy based on Ariel Leve book

Christina Wayne’s Cineflix Studios will introduce itself to Hollywood next week with a pitch for a comedy series based on the book “It Could Be Worse, You Could Be Me” by Ariel Leve.

Cineflix has optioned the book by the journo who pens the “Cassandra” column for the London Sunday Times’ magazine. Wayne, the former AMC programming exec, partnered with Canuck production house Cineflix to launch a Gotham-based scripted development wing last month (Daily Variety, July 19).

Wayne had been working independently with Leve on the project for more than a year before she was appointed prexy of Cineflix Studios. Leve has already penned a pilot script with guidance from Wayne, a former journo and screenwriter, and veteran showrunner Christopher Keyser, who is on board the project as a consultant.

Wayne and Leve are set to make the rounds of network and studio buyers in L.A. next week, in what marks Wayne’s first visit to the town in her new capacity.

The main character in the pilot is a successful femme journo in her late 30s whose life is turned upside down when she loses her job. It’s envisioned as a single-camera half-hour.

“It’s about the what-ifs in life,” Wayne said. “She’s someone who’s always thinking of the worst-case scenario — ‘What if I wind up an old bag lady under a bridge?’ — as a way of facing up to her fears in a very hilarious way.”

Wayne notes that Leve’s track record over the past five years with the “Cassandra” column (on which “It Could Be Worse” is based) underscores how much material there is for the character. “It’s not like we’d have to reinvent the wheel every week. It’s one of those rare instances when you have such an original and fresh voice writing about a world that has existed for a long time,” Wayne said.

In the meetings set for next week, Wayne said she plans to leave prospective buyers with a copy of Leve’s pilot script and a copy of “It Could Be Worse” — which is far more material that execs have to consider after the typical writer pitch meeting.

“This will give people an indication of where the bar is for the material we want to do” at Cineflix, Wayne said.

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