Divorce unites scribe, network


Novelist Gigi Levangie Grazer, whose best-seller "The Starter Wife" became a critically and commercially successful miniseries for USA Network, is venturing into series television with a dramedy project at NBC.

The project, to be produced by Universal Media Studios, revolves around a couple in their 30s who are going though a divorce.

"The theme of it can be summed up as, 'I hate you, hold me,' " Levangie Grazer said. "It's taking on the idea that divorce is the new marriage."

Levangie Grazer thinks that acrimonious divorces are "so 1990s," replaced by happily co-existing exes in the mold of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis. She even coined a term for today's men who remain in their former wives' lives.

"He is a was-husband, not ex-husband," Levangie Grazer said. "I think there is a new, evolved way to get through divorce, and I hope to capture that."

In the untitled project, which has received a script commitment from the network, the divorcing couple — a college professor moonlighting as a political blogger, and his wife, who works at a private school and volunteers at a juvenile prison — don't have enough money to separate right away, so the husband continues to live under the same roof with his wife and their two children, ages 14 and 8.

"It's not 'War of the Roses,' but there is a lot of conflict as they're trying to navigate in-laws, dating and friends," Levangie Grazer said.

Like her novels, the NBC project will draw heavily on the writer's experience. Levangie Grazer has been going through a divorce proceeding with her husband, producer Brian Grazer.

Additionally, "a lot of my trademark observational humor will be (in the show)," she said.

Levangie Grazer took her first stab at writing series television in 2004 when she penned "The Colony," a pilot script for ABC, 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine TV set at Malibu Colony.

On the longform side, she recently teamed with Lifetime to develop a miniseries based on her novel "Maneater" (HR 8/14).

As an executive producer of "Wife," also from UMS, Levangie Grazer is nominated for an Emmy in the best miniseries category.

"Wife," starring Debra Messing as a woman coming to grips with her new place in Hollywood after being dumped by her studio-executive husband for a younger model, earned 10 Emmy nominations.

After the mini's success, USA has been mulling turning it into a series.

Levangie Grazer, whose feature screenwriting credits include the 1998 feature "Stepmom," is repped by WMA, manager Stephanie Davis of 3 Arts Entertainment and attorney Jason Sloane.