October 14, 2011 2:30pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Shonda Rhimes, 'Veronica Mars' EP Sell Drama to Fox
Fox is going into the Shonda Rhimes business.
The network has picked up Wildwood, a 1985-set coming-of-age dramedy from ABC Studios and her Shondaland shingle.
Veronica Mars executive producer Diane Ruggiero will pen the project and executive produce alongside Rhimes and her Shondaland partner Betsy Beers.
Fox has given a put-pilot commitment to Wildwood, which revolves around a wise-beyond-her-years teenager who poses as an adult in order to land a job at a bar on the Jersey Shore in Wildwood, N.J.
Over the course of the summer, she learns to balance obligations with her chaoitic Irish-Italian family with her new secret life filled with romance, intrigue and '80s music.
Wildwood is the third hourlong drama sale this development season for Rhimes and first outside of ABC. The Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice showrunner in August sold period luxury hotel drama Gilded Lillys to ABC with Gossip Girl scribe K.J. Steinberg attached.
Last month, the network also picked up an untitled drama project from Rhimes protégé Jenna Bans (Off the Map) revolving around a young, idealistic and recently fired defense lawyer who struggles to start his own firm.
Longtime partners Rhimes and Beers are attached to executive produce all three projects through their Shondaland shingle.
In addition to executive producing Veronica Mars, Ruggiero's credits include The Ex List, Cupid and Dirty Sexy Money. She also recently penned an episode of the now-canceled NBC comedy Free Agents.
In addition to Grey's and Private, which are in their eighth and fifth seasons, respectively, Rhimes and Beers have the Kerry Washington legal drama Scandal set for midseason on ABC.
The sale marks the latest in a trend this development season of high-profile showrunners moving projects outside their "home" networks. On Thursday, Glee's Ryan Murphy and Ali Adler sold a half-hour comedy to NBC and last month, CW staple Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle) sold a serial killer drama to Fox.
Ruggiero is repped by WME and Principato-Young Entertainment; Rhimes is with ICM; Beers with UTA.