Fogelman, Fox part of a community


The third time could be the charm for comedy writer-producer Dan Fogelman, who has landed a pilot order at Fox for a high-concept family comedy.

The untitled single-camera project, from Warner Bros. TV, centers on a typical dysfunctional nuclear family that moves into a sought-after gated community only to discover that everybody who lives there is an alien. It was greenlighted off a pitch and put on the fast track for production by year's end.

This is Fogelman's third consecutive pilot, following his buzzworthy "The 12th Man" for Fox in 2006 and "Lipshitz Saves the World" for NBC this past development season.

"Lipshitz," about a 17-year-old nerd on a mission to save the world with the help of Leslie Nielsen, enjoyed strong support at NBC and came close to a series order in May.

"It was an amazing, cool development experience with a bit disappointing outcome," Fogelman said.

One of "Lipshitz's" most enthusiastic supporters, NBC's then-entertainment president Kevin Reilly, is now entertainment president at Fox. He and Fox Entertainment chairman Peter Liguori, who had ordered "12th Man" to pilot, went aggressively after Fogelman's pitch when it was taken out to the networks by WBTV.

"It feels like the right place for it," Fogelman said of Fox. "I'm trying try to make them name it 'American Idol.' "

This marks the second comedy pilot greenlighted by Fox in the past week. The network also gave a thumbs up to a single-camera comedy from Jason Winer (HR 8/24). Coincidentally, it also is Winer's third pilot in that many years.

The inspiration for Fogelman's project, which stems from a blind script deal at WBTV, came from his visits to the gated community in Southern New Jersey where his mother lives.

"Whenever I go there, I look around, and it seems that all the people there should be aliens," Fogelman said. "I thought I would just make them aliens."

The concept fell right into his longtime idea "to do a traditional sitcom with a twist that makes it odd and different."

"This is a traditional family sitcom except that (the neighbors) are named after professional athletes and drool green goo out of their snout," he said.

Fogelman has an outline for the pilot and plans to have a first draft within a couple of weeks.

He is looking to bring back most of his crew from his previous pilots, with Chris Koch, the director of "12th Man" and "Lipshitz," already on board to helm the new project.

After coming so close, Fogelman feels good about his third shot at a series on the air.

"I'm really proud of the pilots I did, and my goal this year is to try to do something that people other than my mother and father can see," he said.

Fogelman, who also enjoys a solid feature career with the Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar animated hit "Cars" and the upcoming Vince Vaughn starrer "Fred Claus," is repped by WMA, manager Eryn Brown and attorney Patti Felker.