Fox Orders Kevin Connolly Fantasy Football Comedy, Rivers Cuomo Half-Hour to Pilot

Based on the ESPN analyst's best-selling book 'Fantasy Life,' and the Weezer frontman's life, respectively.
AP Images/Invision
Kevin Connolly, left, and Rivers Cuomo

Just in time for the Super Bowl, Fox is moving forward with its fantasy football comedy — and adding a half-hour inspired by the life of Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo

The network on Thursday handed out pilot orders to Fantasy Life, the adaption of ESPN analyst Matthew Berry's best-selling book of the same name, with Entourage's Kevin Connolly attached to star, and Detour, the Cuomo comedy from Psych's Steve Franks.

Fantasy Life, which landed at Fox in September with a sizable put-pilot commitment with a significant penalty attached, centers on a regular guy who lands his ultimate dream job hosting a fantasy football show and is forced to navigate office politics while becoming the star he never thought he could be.

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It will be written by Tim McAuliffe (Bad Teacher, Satisfaction, The Office, Up All Night), who will executive produce alongside Connolly, Berry, 3 Arts' Jonathan BerryGreg WalterMichael Rotenberg and Troy ZienFantasy Life, from 20th Century Fox Television, will be a multicamera hybrid comedy in a vein similar to CBS/20th's How I Met Your Mother.

Berry's Fantasy Life was published in July 2013 and became a New York Times best seller. The book chronicles Berry's journey from a 14-year-old fantasy player to the face of fantasy sports for ESPN.com, where he serves as fantasy sports analyst and columnist. Berry, coincidentally, is a former TV writer whose credits include Fox's Married … With ChildrenRoseanne, Grace Under Fire and Sports Night, among others. 

For Connolly, the comedy comes after 20th TV inked the former Entourage star to his second overall deal with the studio to develop projects alongside 3 Arts. The actor previously starred in CBS/20th's short-lived comedy Friends With Better Lives last season. An avid football fan, Connolly also directed ESPN's hockey-themed Big Shot episode in its 30 for 30 series.  

For Fox, the comedy comes as the network currently carries Sunday afternoon and evening NFL games. Should Fantasy Life move forward, it would join FX's similarly themed comedy The League. For 3 Arts, Fantasy Life marks its second pilot order of the season. It joins NBC's Greg Malins' multicamera comedy Take It From Us.

Detour, meanwhile, landed at the network in August with a hefty put-pilot commitment. The single-camera comedy is inspired by Cuomo, a rock star who made the unexpected choice at age 30 to quit his band and go back to college. 
 
Based on a pitch from Franks, the 20th TV comedy will be written by the Psych creator and executive produced by Cuomo, Tagline Pictures' Willie Mercer and Chris Henze. Dan Field will also be credited as an EP. 
 
Weezer frontman/songwriter Cuomo opted to go to college and live in the dorms. He tried out for the school choir and didn't get in. He made friends and met his wife. Detour would embellish his journey with a fictional character and the small band of misfit friends that made it possible for him to get through his formative years. Cuomo took the sabbatical eight years ago to return to college at Harvard.
 
Semi-autobiographical fare continues to be a popular genre at the broadcast networks this pilot season. In addition to Detour, Fox has dramedy Studio City, based on the life of creator Krista Vernoff, and a John Stamos comedy; NBC has half-hour Go Jerrod Go (Jerrod Carmichael) and drama Heart Matters (Kathy Magliato), while CBS has its Tommy Johnagin vehicle.

Fantasy Life and Detour become Fox's fifth and sixth comedy pilot orders of the season, off two from last year.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit

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