Frog net signs on Dottie line

Net buys Dartland-Zicklin project based on scribe's pitch

The WB has given one of its largest put pilot commitments ever to an autobiographical half-hour family comedy from Dottie Dartland-Zicklin, the co-creator of “Dharma & Greg” and “Caroline and the City.”

Dubbed “Joint Custody,” the laffer will revolve around two young teens with divorced parents who spend part of their week living with ultrapermissive mom and the rest of the week with disciplinarian dad. Pact carries a rich six-figure penalty that could end up in the seven-figure range once various fees kick in.

Dartland-Zicklin has already penned a pilot script, though Frog execs bought the project sight unseen based on the strength of the scribe’s pitch. Warner Bros. TV has come onboard to produce.

“Dottie’s one of those writers who’s on everyone’s A list, and someone we’ve had our eye on developing with for a long time,” said WB co-exec VP of comedy development Mike Clements. “We wanted to be aggressive with our offer and not get into a (competitive-bidding) situation later. With someone like Dottie, it’s a safe bet for us given her writing ability and track record.”

Dartland-Zicklin will draw on her experience growing up in Miami with divorced parents, though she’s intentionally vague about just how much the skein will mirror real life.

“There are a lot of parallels, but we exaggerate for comedic effect,” she said, adding that casting the pilot should be a highlight of the development process.

“The two divorced parents are just these great big comedic roles,” Dartland-Zicklin said. “They’re two very witty people who (exchange) these barbed comments all the time. They’re two people just dying to irritate each other…. (And) they’re complete comic polar opposites.”

The autobiographical nature of “Joint Custody” was a big part of the project’s appeal to the WB, Clements said. “It always works for us when writers are writing something that comes from their own experience.”

Dartland-Zicklin, who’s repped by UTA and Sam Fisher, said she was extremely flattered by the Frog’s upfront commitment to the show. “This is really a passion project for me, and I had to wait a long time to do this.

“It’s the first time I’ve written something personal. The WB’s a really up-and-coming network, and I think they’ll give me a lot of creative freedom.”