ABC picks up 'Friends With Benefits'

Single-camera project from scribes Neustadter, Weber

ABC has some new "Friends With Benefits."

The network has picked up a single-camera project from Imagine TV and 20th TV that will be written by "(500) Days of Summer" scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber. "Wedding Crashers" helmer David Dobkin is on board to direct the potential pilot.

"Friends," which is spearheaded by Imagine principal Brian Grazer and has landed a script commitment with penalty, is described as a comedic dissection of the mating habits of today's young adults.

"It's about a group of twentysomethings at a point in their lives that everyone can relate to, when they ask questions like:'Is this your girlfriend or someone you just hang out with? Is this a job, or is this a career?" Weber said. "We will be tracking their lives and the decisions they make."

The duo, hot off the success of summer indie hit "(500) Days," has been contemplating a move to TV.

"We're lifelong television fans and have always loved the idea of getting into the TV world, where the storytelling and the creative freedom are unique," Neustadter said.

The two were looking to do a show about "the stuff that we love to write about: relationships."

Meanwhile, Grazer had been exploring a "show about how guys think about sex and relationships" for a while, said Imagine's David Nevins, who is exec producing the show with Grazer, Neustadter, Weber and Dobkin.

Imagine met with Neustadter and Weber as well as with Dobkin, who separately had been thinking about a series with a similar theme.

Dobkin already knew Neustadter and Weber through "Cecilia," a feature script he is attached to which the two are rewriting, so all quickly jumped on board.

"We're trying to blend the warmth and intimacy of their writing with my brand of outrageous comedy," Dobkin said.

This is the second high-profile comedy project sold by Imagine during the past few weeks. An IRS multicamera comedy written by Brent Forrester and based on an idea by Ron Howard landed at Fox with a rich put pilot commitment.

With four one-hour series on the air -- "24," "Lie to Me," "Friday Night Lights" and the upcoming "Parenthood" -- Imagine put an emphasis on comedy this development season.

"We're eager to do another comedy series that has the impact and originality of 'Arrested Development,' " Nevins said.

Neustadter, Weber, Dobkin and Imagine are repped by CAA.

Neustadter and Weber are also repped by Kaplan/Perrone Entertainment and attorney Sean Marks. Dobkin is additionally repped by attorney Warren Dern.
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