Fox is walking down the aisle with David E. Kelley, giving a series order to an hourlong wedding-planner drama.
Project replaces “The Wedding Album,” the hour starring Bruno Campos that Fox announced to advertisers in May. David E. Kelley Prods. and 20th Century Fox TV will produce, with lensing on the first 13 episodes expected to start in time for spring nuptials.
Kelley-penned hour (working title: “The Wedding Store”) is described as “a romantic comedy about a group of wedding planners dedicated to having their clients live happily ever after, or at least until they get to the parking lot.”
Project has taken a circuitous route to the altar.
After ordering “The Wedding Album” to series in May, Fox execs got cold feet when they returned to Los Angeles after the upfronts. Net liked the concept behind the Fox TV Studios-produced show, even sending out DVD copies of the show to critics. The execs weren’t as keen on the execution of the pilot, however, and decided to start over.
Enter 20th Century Fox TV, which attached itself as a co-producer on “Wedding Album” and brought scribes Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts (“Pepper Dennis”) aboard. Berg and Harberts reworked the script, but Fox execs still weren’t wowed.
Project might’ve died at that point. But the folks at 20th remembered that Kelley and Jason Katims (“Friday Night Lights”) had produced a similarly themed project for ABC a couple of years ago dubbed “The DeMarco Affairs.”
ABC ultimately passed on that project, which went to pilot. But 20th thought Fox should take a look at the script, which Kelley had reworked after the Alphabet rejected the pilot.
Fox Entertainment prexy Peter Liguori liked what he saw.
“Who comes in on a white horse but David E. Kelley, who wrote a script that really excited everybody,” Liguori told Daily Variety. “It’s significantly different from the other versions in terms of characters.”
While the arena remains the same, Kelley’s script is much more of a workplace ensemble. “The ‘A’ wedding stories serve as the lever that activates all the great character hijinks Kelley does so well,” Liguori said.
Exec credited 20th with helping to keep the “Wedding” date on.
“They were equally as aggressive as we were in making this concept work,” he said.
A rep for 20th said the extent of Katims’ involvement in “The Wedding Store” will depend on his “Friday Night Lights.” Kelley and Katims developed the project together, with Kelley expected to write the series opener.
“The Wedding Store” and the just-greenlit 20th drama “Drive” rep Fox’s two big drama pushes for the spring. Net will be looking to bounce back after a tough fall.
“We’re taking two pretty big swings at the plate come midseason,” Liguori said.
Fox had announced “Wedding Album” for Friday nights in the spring, but Liguori said, “All scheduling bets are off” now that Kelley is involved in the project.
Kelley continues to work on both the pilot for “Life on Mars,” which is a contender for ABC’s fall sked, and “Boston Legal.”