Writing duo, Farrellys know comedy 'Rules'

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Feature writers Chris Pappas and Mike Bernier have teamed with Bobby and Peter Farrelly and producer Brad Johnson for "The Rules of Starting Over," a comedy project that has received a script commitment plus penalty from Fox.

The single-camera show, from 20th Century Fox TV, Johnson's studio-based Watson Pond Prods. and the Farrelly brothers' Conundrum Entertainment, centers on a 35-year-old man who gets married right out of college. But his marriage falls apart, and he finds himself entering an unfamiliar territory -- the singles scene -- along with his newly single friends.

"It's about starting over in your 30s," Bernier said. "It's about how daunting and difficult it is to get back in the dating game after being out for so long."

Added Pappas: "All the rules have changed and the world has changed. There is a lot of comedy in that arena and also a lot of heart."

The central character is based on a friend of Bernier and Pappas'. The two, who met in high school and have been a writing team for eight years, also drew on Bernier's experience of a thirtysomething guy who has been married for 10 years.

When he met with Pappas and Bernier, Johnson immediately sparked to their idea.

"The format allows us to do big, funny dates from hell that are relatable to anybody who wants to find a mate," he said. "It has a nice balance of relatable and funny."

Bernier and Pappas are writing the script and are co-executive producing.

Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Johnson and Conundrum's Bradley Thomas and Kevin Barnett are executive producing. Watson Pond's Katy McCaffrey is producing.

Bobby Farrelly also is on board to direct if the project is picked up to pilot.

"Rules" reunites Bernier and Pappas with the Farrelly brothers. The first pitch the two sold for feature comedy, "Alcoholics Unanimous," was picked up by Fox in 2002 with Bobby and Peter Farrelly attached to direct. The script still is in the works at the studio, with the Farrelly brothers on board.

Pappas and Bernier's feature credits include the comedy "Meet Mr. Id," in the works at Revolution Studios; "Bunk'd," at Misher Films; and "The Brothers From Another Mother" at Fox Atomic, to which Pappas and Bernier are attached to direct.

Last year, the duo made their TV debut with a pilot script for ABC executive produced by Kevin Misher.

Pappas and Bernier are repped by CAA, Darryl Taja at Epidemic Pictures & Management and attorneys Peter Grossman and Cindy Farrelly Gesner.

Bobby and Peter Farrelly most recently directed the romantic comedy "Fever Pitch" and produced "The Ringer" with Thomas. On the TV side, the two and Thomas are executive producing the pilot "I'm With Stupid" for NBC.

The Farrelly brothers and Thomas are repped by CAA and Gesner.
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