'Girls' Writer Lands Comedy Pilot Order at HBO

Bruce Eric Kaplan will exec produce, alongside Jason Reitman and Lorne Michaels, "People in New Jersey," which revolves around an adult brother and sister who ponder life's mysteries.
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Lorne Michaels, Bruce Eric Kaplan and Jason Reitman

HBO is looking for laughs in New Jersey.

The premium cable network has given a pilot order to People in New Jersey, a half-hour comedy revolving around an adult brother and sister living in the Garden State who ponder life's big and small questions as they struggle to get through the day.

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Girls writer/co-executive producer Bruce Eric Kaplan (Six Feet Under, Seinfeld) will pen the script for the single-camera vehicle and executive produce alongside Academy Award-nominated writer-director Jason Reitman (Up in the Air, Juno), who will direct the pilot.

Saturday Night Live's Lorne Michaels also will executive produce, as will Helen Estabrook, head of development at Reitman's Right of Way Films, and 30 Rock's Andrew Singer

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New Jersey marks Reitman's latest small-screen venture, having directed a pair of episodes of NBC's The Office and a film segment on Saturday Night Live in 2008. Kaplan, meanwhile, also is a cartoonist whose dark comedic single-panel creations regularly appear in The New Yorker

For HBO, New Jersey comes a month after the network picked up its Stephen Merchant comedy pilot Hello Ladies to series as it looks to bolster its comedy coffers to join Enlightened, Girls and Veep, among others.

The project comes as Girls continues to be an awards-season magnet for the cabler and a favorite among HBO brass. 

"I do think the honesty is nothing we've ever seen before, and the ability to talk about the awkwardness is revolutionary," Sue Naegle recently told The Hollywood Reporter of the Lena Dunham vehicle.

Kaplan is repped by CAA and Management 360; Reitman is repped by WME and Jackoway Tyerman.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit