ABC dramedy is 'Maid' to order

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ABC is bringing the Jennifer Lopez starrer "Maid in Manhattan" to the small screen. The network is in negotiations for a series adaptation of the 2002 romantic comedy to be penned by Chad Hodge and executive produced by Lopez, Joe Roth and the film's producer, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.

The hourlong dramedy, which is getting a put pilot commitment, is not a remake of the hit feature, which centered on Marisa Ventura (Lopez), a struggling single mother from the Bronx who works as a maid at a swanky Manhattan hotel, where a rising politician guest (Ralph Fiennes) falls for her after mistaking her for a wealthy socialite.

"The show is a different maid in a different Manhattan," Hodge said.

The lead in the TV version will still be a young Latina from the Bronx working at a Manhattan hotel who tries to make it in the world. But the series will focus mostly on her relationships with co-workers.

"While the hotel's clientele is an obvious part of this world, I'm more interested in the downstairs part of 'Upstairs, Downstairs,' " Hodge said, referring to the classic British series.

Hodge was approached with the idea of adapting "Maid" by Roth, whose company Revolution Studios produced the feature, and Nina Lederman, president of Roth's current company Joe Roth Television.

Hodge, who had written a couple of ABC Family romantic comedies, immediately connected with the idea.

"I imagine being a writer in Hollywood is often very similar to being a maid in Manhattan," he said.

Lopez, a Bronx native, has been very involved, providing "a fountain of ideas," Hodge said. "She will be very integral in the pilot and series," he said.

In addition to Hodge, Lopez, Roth and Goldsmith-Thomas, Lederman and Lopez's producing partner Simon Fields also will serve as executive producers on the project.

This is the second time that ABC and Roth are taking a stab at a series adaptation of "Maid," which grossed $93.8 million at the domestic box office. They developed a script with a different writer during the 2004-05 development season.

On ABC, "Maid" could be a suitable companion for the network's dramedy "Ugly Betty," which also centers on a hardworking young Latina in New York with big dreams.

Series based on features are hot at ABC this summer. The network also is developing a new take on the 1987 hit "The Witches of Eastwick."

"Maid" is the second high-profile project for Hodge in the past few weeks following the sale of a Studio 54-themed drama for Showtime that Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are executive producing and Bryan Singer is potentially directing.

"Maid" was packaged by WMA, which reps all parties involved.

Legal reps include Michael Fuller for Hodge, Bob Wallerstein for Lopez, Sam Fischer for Roth and Ryan Nord for Goldsmith-Thomas. (partialdiff)
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