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ABC Developing Comedy About Undocumented Family With ‘New Girl’ Writer

ABC is developing a comedy about an undocumented family with “New Girl” writer and co-executive producer David FeeneyVariety has learned.

Titled “Sanctuary Family,” the single camera comedy would follow a hard-bitten husband and empathetic wife who butt heads over the chaos created when they provide sanctuary for their undocumented nanny and her family. They come to learn, if their marriage survives, that the differences both families have aren’t as significant as their similarities.

Feeney will write and executive produce the project, with Christine Gernon also executive producing. 20th Century Fox Television will produce. Gernon previously directed several episodes of “New Girl,” and has also directed and co-executive produced the ABC comedy series “Speechless.” Her other directing credits include “Fresh Off the Boat,” “The Goldbergs,” “Superstore,” “Black-ish,” and “Absolutely Fabulous.” In addition to his work on “New Girl,” Feeney has written for and produced shows like “According to Jim” and “2 Broke Girls.”

Feeney is repped by UTA. Gernon is repped by the Curtis Brown Group.

This is the latest project about immigration to go into development at the broadcast networks in recent weeks.  Gina Rodriguez has set up Latino-led series at CBS and The CW. At CBS, drama “Have Mercy” centers around a Latina doctor who is unable to practice when she immigrates to Miami. She begins work as a nurse’s assistant, but risks everything when she opens a makeshift clinic in her apartment to serve the community. At CW, dramedy “Illegal” follows a 16-year-old American high school student named Rafael who discovers he is in fact undocumented.

Meanwhile, Fox is developing “In the Country We Love,” based on the memoir of the same name by “Orange Is the New Black” star Diane Guerrero. That project was set up at CBS last year, with Guerrero attached to star as an attorney who begins defending undocumented immigrants for free, with Guerrero also attached as an executive producer. Finally, CBS is developing the comedy “Welcome to Maine,” which follows a ninth-generation Maine family and a recent immigrant and his daughter who must all learn to embrace change when they share the same workplace in a tiny rural town. Greg Garcia serves as executive producer on the project.

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