U’s ‘Almighty’ spec

Koren/O'Keefe comedy fetches $1 mil

The spec market may have some life in it yet: Moments before the close of business Friday, Universal Pictures preemptively snatched up Steve Koren and Mark O’Keefe’s spec “Bruce Almighty” for over $1 million.

The project is intended as a possible directing vehicle for Tom Shadyac, who in any event will produce via his U-based Shady Acres production shingle. Koren and O’Keefe will likely produce as well.

Storyline centers on a disenchanted fellow given the opportunity by the Maker to play God for 24 hours, with comedic results.

Shadyac has helmed such pics as “Patch Adams,” “Liar Liar,” “The Nutty Professor” and “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.” He will also exec produce this summer’s Eddie Murphy starrer “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.”

Koren’s previous script efforts have been “Saturday Night Live” skit-derived laffers. With Chris Kattan & Will Ferrell, he penned the 1998 Par pic “A Night at the Roxbury” as well as 1999’s “Superstar,” also for Par. He has also written for small-screen skeins “Seinfeld” and “Saturday Night Live,” and has an overall development deal at NBC Studios.

O’Keefe, who recently signed with UTA, was a staff writer for the Peacock’s “NewsRadio” in 1995 and for the short-lived WB series “Kelly Kelly” in 1998.

Project will be supervised by U’s production prexy Kevin Misher.

Koren was repped by CAA; UTA reps both Shadyac and O’Keefe.

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