Showtime picks up 'Tara'

Diablo Cody-penned series stars Toni Collette

Showtime has given a series pickup to "The United States of Tara."

The pay cable channel has greenlighted 12 half-hour episodes (including the pilot) of the single-camera comedy from DreamWorks TV and Steven Spielberg. It's expected to enter production in Los Angeles in the summer.

"Tara," written by Oscar-winning "Juno" screenwriter Diablo Cody, stars Toni Collette as a wife and mother with dissociative identity disorder. John Corbett co-stars as her husband.

Story lines will examine how a dysfunctional family copes with the various identities that might appear on any given day and range in age, temperament and even gender.

Cody will continue to serve as a writer; she also will exec produce with Spielberg, Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank of DreamWorks TV and Alexa Junge. Craig Gillespie ("Lars and the Real Girl") directed the pilot.

"The combination of Diablo Coby's vision and Toni Collette's brilliance at playing her characters is irresistible," Showtime president of entertainment Robert Greenblatt said. "It's a very provocative idea, and there's a combination of humor and real drama. It's a unique show that seems to be right up our alley."

Greenblatt said he's looking at debuting the show early next year; he had originally hoped he might be able to launch it before year's end, but the writers strike and Collette's pregnancy delayed the shooting of the pilot.

Asked with what series "Tara" might be paired, Greenblatt emphasized that it's too early to say but mentioned "The Tudors," "The L Word," a second season of "Secret Diary of a Call Girl" (the series debuts June 16 after the season premiere of "Weeds") or "maybe another new show to come."

Other pilots in contention for a series pickup at Showtime include an untitled Edie Falco dark comedy and the Tim Robbins-penned pharmaceutical drama "Possible Side Effects."