12:00pm PT by Michael O'Connell
Showtime Orders Cameron Crowe's Rock Comedy Pilot 'Roadies'
Cameron Crowe is making moves in TV — and he's going back to his rock roots.
Showtime has given a pilot order to Roadies, a comedy about a successful rock tour told through the eyes of the crewmembers working behind the scenes. The Hollywood Reporter has learned that Crowe, who won the best original screenplay Oscar for 2000 rock drama Almost Famous, is writing and directing the pilot — joined by Winnie Holzman (My So-Called Life) and J.J. Abrams as executive producer.
"Cameron Crowe is one of my all-time movie heroes," said Showtime Networks president David Nevins. "Winnie Holzman created and wrote one of my favorite TV shows ever. J.J., among many other things, is a consummate television producer. Best of all: The comedy script they've come up with together is brilliant, original and full of life."
Should the project go to series, it would be a first for Crowe. His résumé, which spans from Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Say Anything to Jerry Maguire and We Bought a Zoo, has yet to include anything in television. His longtime casting director Gail Levin will be leading the talent search for Roadies, which will be produced by Abrams' Bad Robot Productions, Crowe's Vinyl Films and Dooley & Company Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.
"I love that we're finally doing Roadies," said Crowe. "J.J. and I have been talking about it for some time. We're fans of crews, those workers up on the rigging towers, or walking feverishly with eight phones on their belt. Those quietly devoted people live huge lives, they're often the real keepers of the flame. So happy to also be telling these stories with Showtime, and also with one of my very favorite writer-producers ever, Winnie Holzman. Let's get this show on the road."
Showtime is not heavy on comedies at the moment. The current roster includes House of Lies, Nurse Jackie, Episodes and Web Therapy, with Californication ending its seven-season run in June. Buzzy project Happy-ish was put on the sidelines earlier this year after the sudden death of star Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Still, the network is upping its efforts in the arena. Showtime is currently developing legal comedy Control Alt Delete from Spy creator Simeon Goulden, a project about an Orthodox Jewish man moonlighting as a standup comedian from Elisa Zuritsky and Julie Rottenberg and a small-screen adaptation of Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It.
"Roadies is Cameron Crowe at his most musically passionate, colorful character best," added Abrams. "We had been talking about the series for so long, but when he actually handed me the script, it was funnier and sweeter and wilder than I had ever imagined. Showtime is the perfect home for these characters – and there is no one I've been hoping to work with more than the truly brilliant Winnie Holzman."
"The opportunity to work with Cameron Crowe is both an honor and a dream come true," added Holzman. "I'm grateful to J.J. Abrams, and to Showtime, and thrilled to be along for the ride."
Crowe, Holzman and Abrams are all repped by CAA.