Mike O’Malley back in biz at Fox, John Wells Prods.

Hyphenate to pen laffer 'Citizen,' one of 5 projects at WBTV banner

Mike O’Malley is back in biz with Fox and John Wells Prods. The hyphenate is penning a single-camera half-hour for the network dubbed “Citizen Houlihan,” about a man who decides it’s his civic duty to improve the coarseness of the modern world, to the dismay of his family and friends.

O’Malley worked with Wells’ Warner Bros. TV-based banner last year on a half-hour for Fox, “Wicked Smart” (aka “Prodigy Bully”) that went to pilot but didn’t make the series cut. O’Malley has spent the past three seasons as a scribe on Wells’ Showtime drama “Shameless,” and he’s also a semi-regular on Fox’s “Glee.” He’s exec producing “Houlihan” with Wells and JWP’s TV prexy Andrew Stearn.

Comedy development has been a priority for the past few years for Wells Prods., which is known for high-end dramas such as “ER” and “The West Wing.”

“We had such a great experience working with Mike O’Malley on ‘Wicked Smart,’ and we wanted to focus again on comedies this year,” said Stearn. “Our goal is always to do character-based material that is different from everything else out there.”

JWP is fielding five network projects this development cycle, all in the script stage. In the out-there category is “Lily Dale,” a drama project for CBS revolving around the real-life secluded hamlet in Western New York that is home to mediums and adherents of Spiritualism, the religion rooted in the belief that it is possible to communicate with the dead. The prospective series from writer Kip Koenig would revolve around a newly-blended family that runs a bed and breakfast in Lily Dale.

JWP and Warner Bros. TV have another half-hour set up at Fox and is in negotiations for a drama project at the network, both from “Shameless” scribes.

The comedy, “Hard Up,” is based on an Israeli format about four twentysomething friends fighting to keep their home in a gentrifying neighborhood. Etan Frankel is writing, with Mark Mylod on board to direct.

The drama project from writer Davey Holmes would revolve around a family who serve as assassins for the federal government.

At NBC, JWP is taking a stab at redeveloping the prison drama “Bad Girls,” a British format that made it to pilot last year at the Peacock. “Shameless” vet Nancy Pimental is revising the script she penned last year.

On the cable side, JWP is working on an adaptation of the 2010 feature “Animal Kingdom” for Showtime. It’s also fielding one of the first scripted prospects for E!, “Anne of Hollywood,” based on the book by Carol Wolper in which Anne Boleyn time-travels to contempo Hollywood.