the vine

Empty

'Thick' pilot still in running

It's been a busy afterlife for Mitch Hurwitz's ABC comedy pilot "The Thick of It." Sources said the pilot, which last month was passed on by ABC, is garnering interest from several networks, including Showtime, HBO and NBC. It is understood that talks remain in exploratory stages for the Sony Pictures TV/BBC Worldwide Prods. comedy. The pilot, which was directed by Christopher Guest and stars John Michael Higgins and Oliver Platt, follows the workers in the office of a low-level congressman in Washington. Showtime's strong interest in "Thick" began early on, when the premium cable network bid on the project before it landed at ABC with a big penalty. Showtime entertainment president Robert Greenblatt has been a big fan of Hurwitz and aggressively pursued picking up his Emmy-winning comedy series "Arrested Development" after Fox canceled it, but Hurwitz opted not to continue the show. Meanwhile, "Thick," which is based on a British format, is understandably attracting the attention of NBC Entertainment's newly appointed co-chairman Ben Silverman, whose specialty as a producer was bringing British comedy formats to U.S. primetime, including his Emmy-winning "The Office." (Nellie Andreeva)

'Them' lives on at Fox

Another 2007 broadcast pilot that remains in contention is the Fox drama "Them." The project, from CBS Paramount Network TV and Circle of Confusion Prods., didn't land on Fox's schedule for next season. But the pilot's co-writer/executive producer, David Eick, told reporters during a conference call for Sci Fi Channel's "Battlestar Galactica" on Friday that there is still life in the sci-fi-themed drama. "It's not dead," said Eick, who executive produces "Battlestar." "They are talking to us about perhaps spending money on it and trying things and getting it into play I guess for midseason. All we know is it's still in play and something the network is very actively talking about. We'll know more in the next weeks and months." A spokesman for Fox confirmed Friday that the project has been put back into development. "Them," based on a graphic novel, centers on an extraterrestrial sleeper cell that has infiltrated the human race. Jonathan Mostow, John McNamara, David Engel, David Alpert and Lawrence Mattis executive produced the pilot with Eick. (Kimberly Nordyke)
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