A correction was made to this article on Oct. 7, 2003.
NBC’s looking to inject a little more humor into its drama projects, picking up a pair of scripts that mix laughter with pathos.
“Demonologist,” from horror writer Clive Barker and scribe Teddy Tenenbaum (“The Dead Zone”), revolves around a married couple who fight demons — but are more scared of their 15-year-old daughter.
And “Dog Robbers,” from Patrick Duncan (“Courage Under Fire”) and David Kanter, takes a “MASH”-like look at the wheeler-dealer personal assistants assigned to every general in the military.
NBC drama chief Chris Conti said the network has gone out of its way to find more quirky dramas.
“We’re all trying to find ways to do family shows with characters that just jump off the screen,” he said. “The brass ring of all brass rings is to do that comedic drama.”
“Demonologist” is based on a real-life couple that profess to fight demons. Tenenbaum wrote a feature about the demon-chasing duo a few years ago, but this project is not an adaptation of that script.
‘Hart’ meets ‘Buffy’
Conti describes “Demonologist” as ” ‘Hart to Hart’ meets ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ ”
“It’s a funny, spooky thriller in hopefully the good Hitchcockian tradition,” he said. “If you can pull this off, you can scare the hell out of people and make them laugh at the same time.”
Project comes from NBC Studios, as does “Dog Robbers” (which will also be produced by Anonymous).
“Dog Robbers,” which takes place (at least initially) in Afghanistan, is based on a real-life position in the military — the right-hand men who find whatever it is their generals need, from a good steak to a top-secret tank.
“We also wanted to do a military show, but it’s hard to find the right one,” Conti said. “Doing a show about the peacetime military is tough, but wartime military is even tougher.”
Conti compares “Dog Robbers” to the Paddy Chayefsky-penned 1964 film “The Americanization of Emily.”
Military con game
“These are almost con men, in the military,” Conti said. “They always have a warehouse with a plane hidden somewhere.”
Meanwhile, Conti says the Peacock has closed shop on dramas, having picked up about 35 scripts for development this season.
“I’m more excited about this slate than I’ve been in a while,” he said.
Barker is repped by ICM; Tenenbaum by Paradigm; Duncan and Kanter at UTA.