Cable channels and streaming services may not be in the morning TV news business, but they’re considering entry in the form of a fictional comedy series set in that world.
That’s the premise of a hot pitch making the rounds this week at HBO, Showtime, AMC, Netflix and Amazon that would star Michelle Pfeiffer as an anchor not unlike the one once played in real life by Katie Couric, the “Today” veteran who is attached to the project as an executive producer.
The series would be a comedic look behind-the-scenes of a morning news show. Though storylines aren’t drawn directly from Couric’s experiences, she is expected to ensure the series strikes realistic notes.
A source familiar with the pitch said both Pfeiffer and Couric are pitching along with the show’s creator, Diane English, who is no stranger to fictionalized versions of TV news operations having created the CBS series “Murphy Brown,” which starred Candice Bergen as a news anchor from 1988-1998.
Also attached as executive producers are Eric and Kim Tannenbaum, who are coming off “Two and a Half Men.” Though they are under an overall deal at CBS TV Prods., they’ve been given permission to produce this series without the studio.
The project would mark the first starring role in a TV series for Pfeiffer, an Oscar-nominated actress who has as impressive a film role resume as there is but hasn’t worked on screen much in recent years.
Guymon Casady and Suzan Bymel of Television 360, the TV arm of Management 360 (which reps Pfeiffer), would also be executive producers on the show.
English has also been pretty low profile since “Murphy Brown” left the air, save for a screenplay credit on the 2008 film “The Women.” She is attached as writer, producer and showrunner.
While Couric hasn’t been a mainstay of morning news since her 15-year run on “Today,” she is currently serving as global news anchor for Yahoo.
“Murphy Brown” is hardly the last primetime series inspired by the TV news business. HBO recently completed a three-season run of Aaron Sorkin’s “Newsroom.” Lifetime is developing a TV movie based on “Top of the Morning,” a book about the real-life battles between broadcast morning shows written by CNN’s Brian Stelter.