'Books' is CBS-bound

Comedy script from 'Will & Grace's' Gail Lerner

In a competitive situation, CBS has landed a hot multicamera comedy script by "Will & Grace" alumna Gail Lerner.

The project, which will be produced by Warner Bros. TV, has received a pilot commitment. Tentatively titled "Open Books," it revolves around book editor June and her circle of friends.

"It's an ensemble comedy with a female lead set in the publishing world, but it's really about the characters and their relationships," Lerner said.

"Books" was based on an idea Lerner had been developing in the back of her mind for years.

It is inspired by the time she spent as a temp in the publishing world at the beginning of her career and by the experiences of her sister Betsy, who worked as a book editor for 15 years before becoming a literary agent.

"I like the frustrations, the collaborative process," Lerner said of publishing. "Publishing is a lot like sitcoms. Although both are supposedly dying, that only makes people more passionate about creating the next great novel or show."

Lerner said she knew she had to write the project on spec because "there were too many elements that weren't very development-friendly."

"Open Books" refers to the name of the publishing house at the center of the show. "It also applies to all of the characters, but especially June, somebody who leads with her heart and can't help but get overinvolved in the lives of her friends, her mother and her clients," Lerner said.

Lerner, repped by Vision Art and attorney Bob Getman, serves as co-executive producer on ABC's "Ugly Betty." Her resume also includes stints on CBS' "Worst Week" and Fox's "Back to You" and "Andy Barker, P.I."
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