ABC will go Dutch with duo


ABC is teaming with comedy veterans Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd on a single-camera project that follows three American families as told through the eyes of a Dutch documentary filmmaker.

The untitled comedy, which has received a put pilot commitment with a significant penalty, will be produced by 20th Century Fox TV, where Levitan and Lloyd have an overall deal. It is intended to be shot documentary-style, centering on one traditional and two untraditional families.

Levitan said the idea came about during conversations he and Lloyd were having about "small things that were happening in our houses and lives" with their families. Both are married fathers, Levitan with three kids ages 10-15 and Lloyd with two boys, 9 and 13.

"We started to think this would make an interesting TV show if handled in a smart way," Levitan said. "We thought we could do a family show but not in a way that seemed schmaltzy."

The concept evolved to feature three families: one comprised of a working dad, stay-at-home mom and two kids; another that includes a 60-year-old man who becomes a stepfather after marrying a Latina who is 30 years his junior; and the third, a gay couple who have just adopted a Vietnamese baby.

Meanwhile, the stories will be told from the filmmaker's perspective as well as those of his camera crew. Unlike in NBC's docu-style comedy "The Office," the filmmaker also will be a character, who happens to have been an exchange student when he was younger and coincidentally stayed with the family of one of the subjects he is shooting.

Lloyd said the project is a good fit for ABC.

"It's a family show, which they expressed interest in having," Lloyd said. "It's also offbeat and stylistically interesting and seemed like it was in their wheelhouse."

Levitan is repped by UTA; Lloyd is repped by ICM. They most recently created and exec produced Fox/20th TV's "Back to You." (partialdiff)