Dan’s the man for McG’s TV

Bandleader enlisted to make musically-based laffer

Helmer-producer McG’s Wonderland Prods. has rounded out its TV development slate, signing on thesp Dan Finnerty –whose nightclub performances have become a Hollywood cult fave — to create a half-hour sitcom.

Finnerty leads the Dan Band, an all-male group that specializes in covers of female anthems. The group regularly performs at Largo, among other L.A. haunts, and has been seen on the laffer “Two Guys and a Girl” and the Oxygen series “Pajama Party.”

Songs in the Dan Band repertoire include Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman,” Sheena Easton’s “Sugar Walls” and TLC’s “No Scrubs.”

“I have always been attracted to great entertainers,” McG said. “Dan Finnerty is physical, vocal, subtle and broad — all in one flabby chic stick of dynamite.”

McG first encountered Finnerty, who’s married to “King of the Hill’s” Kathy Najimy, after attending a Dan Band show.

“McG just loved his act so much that he reached out to Dan as a fan,” said Wonderland partner Stephanie Savage. “McG took me to see it, and we’ve become superfans, if not stalkers, of Dan’s, going to every show and bringing everyone we know to see it. McG and I have so much confidence in Dan and the show.”

Playing himself

Savage said Finnerty, who’s repped by WMA and Mosaic, would likely play a version of himself, “a regular working-class guy who expresses himself through songs of female empowerment.” But a final concept has yet to be decided; the producers are currently looking for a writer to add to the mix.

“We definitely want to do something that allows him to integrate music into the show, whether through Walter Mitty-esque fantasy or something else,” Savage said.

The Finnerty project would be set up at Warner Bros. Television, where McG recently sealed a two-year exclusive deal to create, produce and direct programming.

McG, who’s currently lensing the sequel to “Charlie’s Angels,” and John McNamara created and exec produce the upcoming WBTV actioner “Fastlane” (Dan Rappaport also exec produces). With its fast pace, stylish look and loud music, the show is considered one of Fox’s best bets for fall.

Also in the pipeline is a put pilot at the WB; the hourlong project is expected to take place in the world of extreme sports. Greg Bonann (“Baywatch”), who had been linked to the project (Daily Variety, Aug. 20), will not be involved.

“Jordan Levin and his team at the WB made an impact the first time we met,” McG said. “We’re thrilled to be officially working together.”

Big Boy plans

And the Wonderland team is close to figuring out a concept for its project with KPWR-FM Los Angeles drive time personality Big Boy. Savage said it’s likely the story will be based on Big Boy’s real gig as a morning DJ or somehow involve the music biz.

Savage said Wonderland will probably cap its development for 2003 to those three projects.

“The thing that excites us the most is the opportunity to be in business with people who we’re passionate about and believe in,” Savage said. “We had such a positive experience with ‘Fastlane’ and just want to keep it going.”

McG is repped by Endeavor, 3 Arts Entertainment and David Weber.

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