NBC has made a seven-figure pilot commitment to a one-hour comedy-drama from “Sex and the City” creator Darren Star and scribe Jeff Rake.
David Nevins-led Imagine Television is producing the project — intended for fall 2003 — via the shingle’s overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. Project marks a reteaming of Star, Rake and Nevins: Trio worked together on Star/Rake drama “The Street,” developed while Nevins was at Fox Broadcasting.
Rake will pen the pilot and exec produce with Star, Nevins and Imagine’s Brian Grazer. NBC’s deal for the project — which was hotly pursued by two other nets — includes a premium license fee and a significant penalty if the pilot is not produced.
Skein is inspired by the real-life story of Samantha Daniels, a Gotham matrimonial lawyer who doubles as a high-class matchmaker. Star says the show will actually be two franchises in one, focusing on the character’s role as both a matchmaker and a lawyer who handles everything from divorce to adoption cases.
“It’s all about relationships — getting into them and getting out of them,” Star told Daily Variety, noting that the lead character “has a romantic streak even when dealing with people who are getting a divorce.”
“It’s a hopeful show at its core,” he said. “She believes that even divorce is just one step in the path to finding your soulmate.”
Skein will also focus on the lawyer’s own personal life as well as her relationship with her father, providing a family aspect to the hour.
NBC Entertainment prexy Jeff Zucker said he believed Star and Rake’s “sensibility is right at home here at NBC.”
‘Beautifully romantic idea’
“We loved the pitch,” he said. “It’s just a beautifully romantic idea that’s not on television. And the episodes are close-ended, so that (most of the) stories will resolve themselves each week.”
Nevins said Star came to him with the idea for the show; the two then went to 20th to snag Rake, who has a deal with the studio. Since Imagine is based at 20th, the deal quickly came together.
While “The Street” only lasted one season, working together on the skein was “a real positive experience for all of us which we wanted to repeat again,” Nevins said.
What’s more, “Great ideas are not a dime a dozen, and this is a great idea for a television show,” he said. “It allows us to do a relationship show without doing long arcs. And it’s a perfect Darren Star franchise.”
With several offers on the table, Star said NBC seemed like the right fit creatively for the type of show he and Rake want to create.
‘Street’ dead end no factor
“It’s all about doing the right show for the right network, and I felt the NBC audience was the right audience for this show,” he said, noting that the short lifespan of “The Street” — compared to the huge success of “Sex and the City” — hasn’t soured him on broadcast television.
“I don’t plan on giving up on network television,” he said.
Star, however, is also in the early stages of development with writer-director Nicole Holofcener (“Lovely and Amazing”) on “Pacific Palisades,” a romantic drama series for HBO.
In addition to “The Street,” Rake’s credits include “The Practice” and pilot projects for CBS and Fox; latter project was produced with Star.
Star’s long list of credits includes “Melrose Place,” “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Grosse Pointe” and “Central Park West.”
Both Star and Rake are repped by WMA; Rake is also repped by Anonymous.