Nathan has ‘Spirit’

With Johnson, sets up Iraq war sitcom at Fox

Former “Golden Girls” showrunner Mort Nathan and producer Brad Johnson are hoping to do for Iraq what “MASH” did for Korea.

As part of a busy development slate, Nathan is penning “Spirit of America,” a half-hour comedy about staffers at a fledgling American-run TV network in Baghdad that’s trying to bring Western-style programming to the locals.

Scribe — who also co-wrote the Farrelly brothers’ feature comedy “Kingpin” — will exec produce with Johnson via Johnson’s 20th Century Fox TV-based Watson Pond Prods.

Fox Broadcasting has given a script commitment to the half-hour project.

On the cable front, Nathan has teamed with “Saturday Night Live” alum Tom Davis and Lawrence Bender Prods. to develop a half-hour pilot for Comedy Central.

Project will focus on Davis’ life in rural upstate New York and the fact that he’s virtually unknown despite having helped shape “SNL.” Davis and Al Franken were longtime “SNL” writing partners and helped create some of the show’s most memorable bits.

In addition to Bender, Nathan and Davis, Karen Barber and Laila Nabulsi will serve as producers.

Bender Prods. also is developing an hourlong drama script with Nathan dubbed “Capital Shrinks,” hoping to duplicate the crossover success of his former “Golden Girls” colleague Marc Cherry (“Desperate Housewives”).

In addition to his own development, Metropolitan-repped Nathan has joined the Shapiro/Grodner/Sean Hayes reality skein “Situation: Comedy.” He’ll supervise one of the two finalists in the Bravo skein, which is designed to discover a sitcom talent.

Nathan made his feature directing debut with the 2002 Cuba Gooding Jr. laffer “Boat Trip,” which Nathan also wrote. Scribe’s TV credits stretch back to “Benson” and “Archie Bunker’s Place.”

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