Merryman, Newman to pen romantic comedy

Summit’s long-in-development romantic comedy “Kicked, Bitten and Scratched” has revved up with the scripting team of Keith Merryman & David A. Newman and producers Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot of Offspring Entertainment now onboard.

Summit announced in 2008 that it had started work on “Kicked,” based on Amy Sutherland’s books “Kicked, Bitten and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World’s Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers” and “What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love and Marriage.” Julie Rottenberg and Elisa Zuritsky penned the screenplay.

At that point, the project had been set with Kristin Hahn and Michael Ohoven, who remain as producers with Kevin Turen and Henry Winterstern remaining as exec producers. Matt Smith of Offspring is also exec producing.

“Kicked” is also inspired by a New York Times op-ed piece by Sutherland that was the most emailed article on the paper’s website in 2006.

The feature project centers on a reporter sent to cover a story at an animal training facility. She realizes the behavioral modification techniques employed may also work on the two-legged animals in her life: backstabbing co-workers, unruly children, meddlesome parents and, most importantly, friends with benefits.

Erik Feig, Meredith Milton and Jina Jones will oversee “Kicked” for the studio.

Shankman and Gibgot recently signed a two-year first-look deal with Warner Horizon TV that calls for the duo to develop projects for cable. The producing partners have recently worked on such feature projects as “Rock of Ages,” the “Step Up” franchise and “Hairspray.”

Ohoven was a producer on “Capote.” Hahn’s producing credits include “The Departed.”

Merryman & Newman’s writing credits include “Think Like a Man” and “Friends With Benefits.” They are repped by APA, Circle of Confusion and Stone, Meyer, Genow, Smelkinson and Binder.

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