Fox tunes up trio of toons

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Fox is stocking up on dysfunctional animated families for next season.

The network is developing three projects: an animated version of its 2003 short-lived live-action comedy "The Pitts," from "The Simpsons" veteran Mike Scully; "Relative Insanity," exec produced by Jack Black; and "Mothballs," from "Drawn Together" creators Matt Silverstein and Dave Jeser. All three shows hail from 20th Century Fox TV.

Fox has ordered two scripts from "Pitts." The studio is casting the project for a table read. If that goes well, "Pitts" will be ordered straight to series, bypassing the monthslong process of producing a presentation.

The live-action "Pitts," about the unluckiest family in the world, aired for four weeks in March 2003 before being canceled by Fox. But creators Scully and his wife, Julie Thacker-Scully, never lost faith in the project and kept bringing it back in pitch meetings.

"It will be a new show to America, because so few people saw it outside of our immediate family," Scully said. "It's show we've always been very fond of."

The idea of making "Pitts" a cartoon first came up in the writers' room of the original series.

"It was so close to a cartoon, so we were talking how much easier it would be to execute it if it were animated," said Scully, who described the 2-D series as " 'The Simpsons' " Halloween episode every week."

Scully hopes the happy ending for "Pitts" will give hope to other creators. "Maybe it will set a precedent for canceled live-action series," he said. "Maybe next year 'Studio 60' will come back as a cartoon."

Scully and Thacher-Scully are repped by Endeavor.

"Insanity," written by Justin Roiland, centers on a twentysomething guy who is trying to establish his life but is constantly sidetracked by the mishaps and adventures of his crazy family. The project, which was picked up by Fox and then laid off at 20th TV, is exec produced by Roiland, Black and Ben Cooley, Black's producing partner at Electric Dynamite.

Roiland and Black are repped by UTA.

"Mothballs" is about the Westings, a dysfunctional family who lives in the nursing home they own and operate. The show begins with the family's uptight patriarch and nursing home owner forced to place his vivacious estranged father into his tightly run facility. "Mothballs" has received a script commitment plus penalty.

Writers/exec producers Silverstein and Jeser are repped by UTA.

Last year, Fox stepped up its efforts to find a companion animated series to its Sunday night series "The Simpsons," "Family Guy," "American Dad!" and "King of the Hill." The network ordered three animated presentations, but none made the cut to series.
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