“Curb Your Enthusiasm” scene-stealer JB Smoove is set to star in a new laffer project in development at Fox.
Smoove has partnered with “Date Night” helmer Shawn Levy and “The Office” scribe Aaron Shure to develop the sitcom, which received a script order from Fox right before the holidays.
Untitled laffer is set to star Smoove as a recently divorced man who can’t afford to move out or sell his house – and instead relocates to the basement (with his ex-wife and kids upstairs).
“He’s trying to get his life back, and has noble aims, but has a talent for consistently tripping himself up,” Levy said. “There’s shades of ‘Roseanne’ in its blue collar subject matter. It felt like a good comedy vehicle for JB and an idea suited for our moment.”
20th Century Fox TV is behind the untitled single-camera comedy; Smoove would star and produce. Project comes via 20th’s and Fox’s joint talent holding deal with Smoove. Fox has been a fan of the comedian for some time; the network (and Sony Pictures TV) previously cast him on “Til Death” in an attempt to jumpstart that sitcom.
Project comes through 21 Laps/Adelstein, the new 20-based TV shingle launched last summer by Levy and Marty Adelstein. In entering the TV biz, Levy said Smoove – who had a key scene in “Date Night” – was one of his first calls.
“I thought it would be fun to develop something for him as the star,” Levy said. “Consistently people who told me how funny ‘Date Night’ was would specifically cite the car chase sequence (featuring Smoove).”
In tapping Shure to write the pilot, Levy cited the scribe’s background on both “The Office” and “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
“JB had a seed of an idea, but we knew the show was going to need some very sharp wit,” Levy said.
In shooting the project as a single-cam, Levy said he also wanted to allow for the kind of improv that Smoove is used to handling on “Curb” (and that Levy frequently utilizes on his films).
Smoove’s team at Rain Management, including Rick Dorfman, also put the deal together. Shure, Levy, Adelstein and Becky Clements (who serves as president of 21 Laps/Adelstein) will exec produce.
Smoove will next be seen on the new season of “Curb,” in which he once again plays Leon Black. He also just wrapped the feature “The Sitter,” opposite Jonah Hill, and will appear in Cameron Crowe’s “We Bought a Zoo” and provide a character voice in “Ice Age 4.” Smoove and Shure are repped by WME.