The CW Pushes Into Comedy With Canadian Sperm Donor Comedy 'Seed'
TORONTO -- The CW has picked up Canadian sperm donor sitcom Seed from Canada's City network and indie producer Force Four Entertainment.
The deal with sales agent Entertainment One will see the youth-skewing network air the first season of Seed, either as a midseason or summer addition to its schedule.
Claire Freeland, director of original programming at Rogers Media, who initially developed Seed for City, said the deal withThe CW bodes well for an upcoming second season on her network.
"Whether rightly or wrongly, there's a badge to be worn when a show is picked up in the U.S. And if that helps builds the [Canadian] audience, we're not going to say no," Freeland told The Hollywood Reporter.
Seed, created by executive producer Joseph Raso and with Mark Farrell (Corner Gas) as showrunner, features Adam Korson as Harry, an ill-equipped bachelor bartender whose first foray into sperm donation produces a raft of kids.
He also strikes up a budding relationship with Rose, a single woman played by Carrie-Lynn Neales, who used the sperm bank to get pregnant.
The deal comes after The CW found modest success with Canadian import The L.A. Complex from the CTV network.
The U.S. sale of Seed was handled by Carrie Stein, eOne’s executive vp global productions, who was an early backer of the project. Stein recalled a year ago sitting on an airplane and reading through three scripts of Seed before turning to eOne TV topper John Morayniss to recommend the Canadian sitcom as funny and ripe for a U.S. sale.
"This just really impressed me. It was a timely concept, with families ever-changing. And the idea of flipping it and looking at this unwitting father suddenly with all of these kids, I just thought it was terrific," Stein said.
For The CW, the deal comes as the youth-skewing network has been eyeing an entry into scripted comedy under president Mark Pedowitz, who saw the revival of improv sketch show Whose Line Is It Anyway as an entry point for the genre. The Aisha Tyler-hosted half-hour was renewed for a second season of 24 episodes -- up 10 from its freshman run -- earlier this summer. The executive has repeatedly said that he'd use Whose Line as a launch pad for original scripted comedies.
"Whose Line gives us a strategic piece now [to launch] comedy," Pedowitz told reporters in July at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour in Los Angeles. "I think it might be the time. We have a platform to do it and we didn't really have one before. Strategically, it made a huge difference for us. The game plan is, if we can, to bring it back for midseason."
eOne will handle the worldwide rights to Seed and previously sold the Canadian series into a number of international territories before the U.S. deal was inked.
City has ordered another 13 episodes from Force Four Entertainment, with the second season shoot in Halifax to start mid-September.
Freeland said the Seed cast will return for the second season, where the series' writer's room has expanded the range of characters and how they merge and collide with one another.
The ensemble cast includes Amanda Brugel, Stephanie Anne Mills, Laura de Carteret, Matt Baram, Vanessa Matsui, Abby Ross and William Ainscough.
Supervising producer on Seed is Paula Smith and Karen Wentzell is producing.
For eOne, Seed marks the latest series on U.S. TV, joining ABC's Rookie Blue, AMC's Hell on Wheels, DirecTV's Rogue, Syfy's Haven and Discovery's upcoming first original scripted miniseries Klondike.
Lesley Goldberg in Los Angeles contributed to this report.