ABC heeds 'Call' from Real Time


ABC has answered "The Call," giving a series commitment to a real-time comedy project from "24" creators Joel Surnow and Bob Cochran and writer Dave Hemingson.

"Call," from 20th Century Fox TV and studio-based Real Time Prods., centers on two best friends, unorthodox paramedics, who save people's lives while screwing up each other's.

"Call" will be in the vein of "M*A*S*H," alternating between intense moments and character-based comic relief.

"We will be toggling between tones and will hopefully create something that is compelling and humorous," Hemingson said.

Unlike "24," which is heavily serialized, the episodes of "Call" will be self-contained, each dealing with a different emergency the characters respond to.

The project is based on an idea by Surnow and Cochran, experts in the real-time TV genre through their Emmy-winning drama "24," who then teamed with 20th TV-based writer Hemingson, creator of the Fox comedy "Kitchen Confidential."

The three will executive produce with Surnow and Cochran's Real Time partner Howard Gordon.

Sources said "Call" landed at ABC after the network's Entertainment president Stephen McPherson loved the pitch and made a big play for the project. McPherson is said to be a fan of Hemingson and considered a possible future of the writer's "Kitchen" after Fox canceled it last year.

In addition to "Call," Hemingson is writing/executive producing "Two Dreadful Children," an animated comedy presentation for Fox. He also is working on Fox's "American Dad."

Real Time's busy slate this development season also includes spy drama "NSA Innocent" for Fox, which Cochran is penning with David Ehrman.

Hemingson is repped by ICM and attorney Cliff Gilbert-Lurie.

Surnow is repped by Paradigm. Cochran is repped by APA.