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Shadyac sets Butler’s pilot

Reo to pen comedienne's comeback comedy 'Homecoming'

Feature helmer Tom Shadyac (“The Nutty Professor”) will direct and exec produce a half-hour Touchstone Television comedy pilot for ABC starring comic Brett Butler.

Don Reo (“Action”) will pen the pilot script. Shadyac, Reo and Nina Wass will serve as exec producers of the series, tentatively titled “Homecoming Queen.”

Targeted for a fall debut, project marks the first foray into series television for Shadyac, whose other credits include the comedies “Patch Adams,” “Liar Liar” and “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.”

Second chance

It also represents the possible beginning of a comeback for Butler, whose successful ABC laffer “Grace Under Fire” died two years ago in the wake of her battle with an addiction to prescription painkillers.

UTA repped Shadyac in the deal. Butler is repped by ICM.

“Homecoming” has been on an accelerated development track: Six weeks ago, ABC hadn’t even ordered a script (Daily Variety, Jan. 20.) Shadyac’s commitment to direct the pilot was key to it getting greenlit.

Skein will be a “story of redemption” revolving around a woman who hits rock bottom and is now attempting to rebuild her life. Butler’s character will have kids, lending a family-comedy aspect to the show.

While Butler is not attached as a scribe, story will have obvious parallels to her own life story.

“She’s been involved in the development. It’s very autobiographical,” one source said.

No love lost

Little love was lost between Butler and ABC execs during the latter seasons of “Grace’s” run on the Alphabet web. Production on the show was interrupted more than once.

Shadyac’s heavy involvement in the project has been key in convincing ABC execs to give Butler another shot. Helmer inked an overall development deal with Touchstone Television last fall; “Homecoming” is the first product of that pact.

Greenlight for “Homecoming” is also good news for Wass, who now has a whopping total of five pilots in the works for next season via her overall deal with Touchstone.

For ABC, producer is developing a domestic laffer with Terry Minsky, as well as a half-hour set on Wall Street. Wass has the laffer “The DeMarco Bros.” set up at CBS and the Adam Herz (“American Pie”) project at NBC.

Before exec producing and writing Fox’s critically hailed “Action” this season, Reo created and exec produced NBC’s “The John Larroquette Show.” He also created and produced the Peacock’s “Blossom.”

Reo, repped by Paradigm Entertainment, recently inked a new overall deal with Touchstone. He’s been working on the net’s upcoming Damon Wayans project.

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