Apostle is blessed

Shingle readies Fox 'Operative,' ABC comedy

Denis Leary and Jim Serpico’s Sony-based production shingle Apostle has set up several projects across broadcast and cable.

Among them are the “Clue”-style thriller “The Operative” for Fox, a half-hour laffer about Caroline Hirsch (founder of the Caroline’s Comedy Club in New York) for ABC, and the shingle’s first TV movie, for ESPN.

Apostle produces with Sony the firefighter drama “Rescue Me” for FX. Skein, in which Leary also stars, was renewed for a third season this summer with 13 new episodes set to bow in second quarter 2006.

“Caroline’s” reunites Apostle with the Alphabet, home to the duo’s short-lived hour “The Job.” Single-camera show revolves around the world of the nightclub impresario. “Arrested Development” scribe Chuck Martin will exec produce. Hirsch will produce.

“It’s about a girl making it in a man’s world,” Serpico said, noting that Apostle harbored no grudges toward ABC over “The Job.”

“We had a great experience while we were there,” he said. “Unfortunately, we were sort of the odd duck, being single-camera and a comedy. Luckily, single-camera is all the rage now.”

At Fox, Apostle has set up “Operative,” about a criminal mastermind who, unbeknownst to him, has a mole in the ranks. Viewers will be given clues throughout each episode as to the identity of the undercover FBI agent, but won’t get confirmation until the show’s season finale. Todd Feldman and Luciano Saber will exec produce with Apostle and Sony. John Romano (“American Dreams”) is writing the pilot and will exec produce.

On the cable side, Apostle has teamed with Spike on the scripted drama “The Big Empty,” about a group of average-Joe private investigators (Daily Variety, Nov. 17). Ken Sanzel (“Numbers”) will exec produce with Apostle’s Tom Sellitti.

Serpico said the show would “do for the PI franchise what ‘Rescue Me’ did for firefighters, sprinkling humor alongside the unraveling of our heroes’ personal and professional lives.”

Paradigm-repped Apostle also is working on a trio of projects at Comedy Central, including the half-hour “Fugly,” about a man reflecting on his youth as an ugly child. Serpico said the idea, in the early stages of development, sprung from a published study proving that less attractive children get less attention from their parents. Laffer net is also developing shingle’s Lewis Black comedy “Red State Diaries,” from exec producers Black and Jeff Stilson, and recently completed the special “Denis Leary’s Merry F*&%ing Christmas,” which bows Nov. 27.

Then there’s the two-hour biopic “Rothstein” for ESPN. Project revolves around the Gotham gambler Arnold Rothstein, who fixed the 1919 World Series. Apostle’s Sellitti is producing.