August 23, 2013 4:57pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Ryan Seacrest Revives 2001 Comedy From Late Comedian at NBC (Exclusive)
Ryan Seacrest is expanding his relationship with NBC.
The American Idol and Million Second Quiz host's Ryan Seacrest Productions has sold a comedy to the network, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. From ABC Studios, single-camera comedy Me and My Needs revolves around a daytime talk producer who tackles the oddities and extremes of looking for love in New York. The late Judy Toll (Sex and the City) penned the original script -- which was inspired by her own life -- along with Cynthia Greenburg.
Comedian-writer Toll, a Groundlings alum who often chronicled her search for love in her comedy, passed away in 2002 following a long battle with melanoma. She was 44. Greenburg remains a writer on the updated Me and My Needs. The original comedy was produced as a pilot for ABC in 2001, with creators Greenburg and Toll executive producing alongside Gene Stein and Nina Wass.
Sources tell THR that Wass and Stein decided to revive Me and My Needs as a way to honor Toll's memory after initially balking at the idea when a network executive approached them about it a few years ago. The duo originally developed the project, which ABC produced as a multicamera effort, alongside Toll and Greenburg. The new take will be more in line with Toll's original vision of the semi-autobiographical comedy as a single-camera entry. NBC's take -- which has received the blessing and support of Toll's family -- will see its central character be more focused on Toll's unique brand of comedy rather than the heavy workplace emphasis of the 2001 pilot, which starred Nicole Sullivan (MadTV, Cougar Town).
Toll was an actress, comedian and writer whose credits included Sex and the City, Boy Meets World and The Geena Davis Show. She was a Groundlings-trained sketch and improv alum whose career started in Philadelphia comedy clubs. As an actress, her credits included episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm and Suddenly Susan.
Toll was also known for her parody of Andrew Dice Clay, whom she riffed on as Andrea Dice Clay. She co-wrote the film Casual Sex? starring Wendy Goldman based on a play they wrote while at Groundlings. The "Cover Girl" episode of HBO's Sex and the City -- as well as the pilot of Less Than Perfect -- were both dedicated to Toll. A 2007 documentary, Judy Toll: The Funniest Woman You've Never Heard Of, was written and directed by her brother Gary Toll, who also produced alongside Wass and Stein.
"When I was hiring what I called guest stars to be on the writing staff of Sex and the City, which was a show about women looking for true love, there was only one person I could think of right off the top of my head who would be perfect to write jokes about women falling for men -- and the wrong men -- and it was Judy," Sex and the City's Michael Patrick King says in the a clip from the doc (watch below).
Wass is now executive vp scripted programming at Ryan Seacrest Productions and will exec produce the new incarnation of the comedy along with Stein, Seacrest and RSP CEO Adam Sher, to whom Wass reports. NBC has given a script commitment to the new Me and My Needs, which also hails from BermanBraun's Lloyd Braun and Gail Berman, who also will executive produce.
Me and My Needs marks the latest project for Greenburg and Wass, who following ABC's failed pilot worked together on the network's Sara Rue comedy Less Than Perfect -- which was frequently directed by Nina's husband, Ted Wass, and ran for four seasons.
For Seacrest, the project marks his latest venture with NBC after recently closing a deal to host the network's upcoming 24-hour live competition series The Million Second Quiz. Seacrest, via his expansive two-year deal with NBCUniversal, serves as a special correspondent for Today as well as a contributor to NBC's primetime news, entertainment and Olympics coverage in addition to his regular duties at E! News, where he still serves as managing editor and appears on-camera during major awards shows.
Me and My Needs also marks Ryan Seacrest Productions' latest effort with ABC Studios, joining the Disney-owned network's midseason comedy Mixology.
Greenburg is repped by APA.