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Fox Developing Step-Sibling Comedy With Elizabeth Banks, Max Handelman Producing (EXCLUSIVE)

In a competitive situation, Fox has bought a pitch for a comedy series that boasts Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman as executive producers, Variety has learned exclusively.

Titled “Step Strangers,” the series would follow five 20-something adults who are forced to become step-siblings after their overbearing divorced mother and oblivious widower father meet on a singles cruise and fall in love. Fox has ordered a script for the project with a penalty attached.

Lauren Caltagirone created the project and will write and executive produce. Banks and Handelman will executive produce under their Brownstone Productions banner. Warner Bros. Television will produce in association with Brownstone.

“Step Strangers” marks the latest broadcast project this season for Brownstone Productions. ABC recently announced the order of the drama “Spirited” written by Heather Mitchell and staring Laverne Cox. “Pitch Perfect 3,” another Brownstone project, is due for release this December from Universal. The first two films collectively grossed over $400 million globally. The company also  currently has “Charlie’s Angels” at Sony which Banks will also direct, and an adaptation of the book “White Girl Problems” at Lionsgate which will star Danielle Macdonald.

Caltagirone previously worked with Banks when she was a staff writer on the Netflix prequel series “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp,” in which Banks starred. She also worked as a writer on the NBC sitcom “Guys with Kids” and Adult Swim’s “Newsreaders.” In the past two years, she has sold comedy pitches to both Fox and ABC.

Caltagirone is repped by UTA and Principato Young. Banks and Handelman are represented by UTA, Untitled Entertainment and Ziffren Brittenham.

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