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ABC developing ‘Cavemen’

Comedy pilot based on Geico ads

Winner for most unusual piece of development this pilot season goes to ABC, which has turned a series of quirky Geico commercials into an actual half-hour comedy project.

Cavemen” will revolve around three pre-historic men who must battle prejudice as they attempt to live as normal thirtysomethings in modern Atlanta.

Project, from ABC TV Studio, is penned by Joe Lawson, an advertising copywriter who was behind the “Caveman” ads — as well as other Geico commercials (think the cockney-speaking Geico gecko, and the reality TV spoof “Tiny House”).

Daniel Rappaport, Guymon Cassady, Will Speck and Josh Gordon are exec producers. Speck and Gordon, commercial directors who recently helmed the Will Farrell feature “Blades of Glory,” are on board to also direct.

The single-camera laffer pilot is based on the Geico ads that promote the insurance company’s Web site as so user-friendly that even “a caveman could do it.” The spots follow cavemen in modern settings, reacting with offense to the derogatory slogan. In one, a Geico spokesman apologizes and takes the Neanderthals out to dinner.

Other blurbs include the sensitive, modern cavemen peeved at the offending slogan while encountering Geico ads in everyday life, including the airport.

The caveman commercials were created through the Richmond, Va.-based Martin Agency. Jeff Daniel Phillips and Ben Weber play the cavemen in the Geico spots; no word if they’ll make the transformation to the TV project.

Few TV shows have come out of the commercial sphere; more frequently, TV characters live on in 30-second spots long after their shows are canceled (think “ALF”).

But it’s not without precedence: The 2002 CBS comedy “Baby Bob” revolved around a talking baby character that was first seen in a series of dot.com ads. After the Eye canceled “Baby Bob,” the character returned to its commercial roots, spending time as a pitchman (pitchbaby?) for Quizno’s Subs.

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