HBO preps comedy 'Review'

Andy Bellin's project set in a magazine after Black Monday

After a market crash, a magazine is struggling to survive.

It sounds like a contemporary drama but is in fact a period comedy project from writer Andy Bellin in the works at HBO.

Tentatively titled "The Review," the show is set at a New York literary magazine in the immediate aftermath of Black Monday in 1987, just in time to catch the tail end of the decade's "greed is good" excess. It centers on a young guy who leaves banking to work at the magazine right when it existence is threatened by funding cuts.

The project, which former journalist Bellin is exec producing with feature producer Scott Aversano ("Failure to Launch") is loosely based on Bellin's experience as an editor at the Paris Review in the '90s under iconic editor George Plimpton as well as other freelance magazine gigs.

Bellin was on his way to a master's degree in astrophysics at Wesleyan University when he dropped out to pursue a writing career.

Based on his science background, he landed a job as a technology editor at the Paris Review with a promise to take the magazine into the 21st century and cyberspace. In truth, he knew nothing about online conversion, so he hired another person to do the job and gave him his paychecks.

"I conned my way into that job because I desperately wanted to become a writer -- having wasted so many years in the hard sciences -- and George had a well-earned reputation for nurturing young writers and an open mind to people of all academic backgrounds," said Bellin, who also did a brief ill-fated stint as Plimpton's assistant before landing a job as an associate editor. "Once I got the gig, there was no place better to come of age as a journalist. The Paris Review being perpetually broke, everybody had to do everything from editing, interviewing, writing and soliciting ads to taking out the garbage and answering phones."

Bellin went on to become an author ("Poker Nation") and branched into in film and TV.

"Trust," a feature he penned with David Schwimmer about a family whose daughter is the victim of an online predator is set up at Killer Films with Schwimmer directing. On the TV side, Bellin is developing a show with designer Zac Posen and Ish TV's Michael Hirschorn that is set in the Palm Beach/ Millbrook, Fla., high-society world of polo and dressage.

Bellin is repped by CAA, manager Dodie Gold, and attorney Mike Adler.