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EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate steps in to save Fox’s Will Arnett comedy, which now gets a pilot order

Will_arnett Fox is close to giving the greenlight to a comedy pilot starring “Arrested Development” alum Will Arnett.

Pickup comes after the untitled laffer, which Arnett wrote with “Arrested’s” Mitch Hurwitz and Jim Vallely, nearly fell apart a few weeks ago.

Sony Pictures TV, which houses Tantamount — Hurwitz’s production venture with Eric and Kim Tannenbaum — dropped out of the show, citing cost concerns. Fox then asked its sister studio, 20th Century Fox TV, to take over production — but 20th, which produced “Arrested,” declined as well.

Lionsgate then stepped in at the 11th hour to deficit finance and produce the show. Once Lionsgate is firmly on board, Fox will officially pick the show up to pilot.

Comedy stars Arnett as a wealthy Beverly Hills man who winds up falling for a woman who can’t stand his obnoxious ways.

Vallely and Hurwitz will exec produce with Eric and Kim Tannenbaum, as well as Peter Principato and Paul Young.

Pickup reps the fourth pilot for Tantamount this season — while Principato and Young are also having a good year, having seen three of their projects get pilot greenlights.

If it goes to series, show would rep another homecoming for Arnett, Hurwitz and Vallely at Fox, where “Arrested Development” earned critical acclaim (but small auds) over the course of three seasons.

Mitchhurwitz More recently, Arnett provided the voice for “Ennis Hofftard” on Fox’s animated comedy “Sit Down, Shut Up,” which also came from Hurwitz and Tantamount. Show was short-lived, but Fox continues to air repeats on Saturday nights at midnight (behind “The Wanda Sykes Show”).

Arnett’s recent TV credits include guest stints on “Parks and Recreation” — opposite his real-life wife, Amy Poehler — and “30 Rock,” where he recurs as Devon Banks.

Vallely and Hurwitz are also writing the long-awaited “Arrested Development” movie, in which Arnett would revive his role as Gob Bluth.

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