Sony producers have cable hookup

Eight projects brewing for Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly

It's another busy development season for Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly's Sony-based TV production company, which has set up eight projects from such auspices as Elmore Leonard, Graham Yost, Michael Dinner, Barry Sonnenfeld and Chris Keyser and Amy Lippman.

What is different this year is that most of the projects are set up at cable networks.

Since its 2003 launch, Timberman/Beverly Prods. (formerly 25C) had been focused on developing for the broadcast nets, landing several pilots and a series order from NBC for "Kidnapped."

Timberman and Beverly tested the cable waters this year with the A&E pilot "Danny Fricke." Now they're hooked.

"It has opened the door to explore subject matter that we would've never thought of developing for broadcast," Timberman said.

It also helped that their company is based at Sony TV, a major cable player.

Timberman/Beverly's cable slate includes an untitled Elmore Leonard drama and "Hit Man" at FX, the drama "Fade to Black" and the comedy "Carry Me" at Showtime and the drama "Between Smith and Jones" at Lifetime. On the broadcast side, the duo has sold the comedy "Holly Gale" and an untitled medical drama to CBS and comedic drama "The Nelsons" to ABC.

-- The untitled Elmore Leonard project, penned by Yost and to be directed by Dinner, is based on Leonard's short story "Fire in the Hole." It centers on Kentucky U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens and chronicles his cases as well his personal life, including his unfinished business with an ex-wife and his aging father.

"It's a classic Elmore Leonard story with ironic twists of fate, dimensionalized criminals and a protagonist who is himself an enigma," Timberman said.

-- "Hit Man," penned and to be directed by Dinner, is based on Lawrence Block's book trilogy and centers on a regular lonely urban guy who happens to be a hitman.

Beverly called the show "a character piece about a meticulous hitman's messy midlife crisis and what bubbles to the surface as a consequence."

-- "Fade to Black," from "Party of Five" creators Keyser and Lippman, tells the intertwined stories of a group of Tinseltown writers, directors and actors whose lives are irrevocably altered by the Hollywood Blacklist.

"It's a provocative, timely look behind the veneer of what we think of 1940s Hollywood," Timberman said.

-- "Carry Me," from writer Dan Bucatinsky, is a single-camera comedy about an outspoken and sometimes crass surrogate mom who rents her womb out to a different set of intended parents each season.

"This is a provocative and unconventional way to get into the family show genre," Beverly said.

--"Between Smith and Jones," written by Mimi Schmir, follows the lives of three families from the same Santa Monica neighborhood through the eyes of the manny they share.

-- The untitled CBS drama, penned by Becky Mode, revolves around New York City pediatricians who have to contend with a generation of overly involved, micromanaging modern parents, in addition to their own family, romantic and professional entanglements.

-- The single-camera "Holly Gale," written by Barbara Wallace and Tom Wolfe, centers on a former cheerleading star who returns to her hometown to take over as head cheerleading coach, becoming a dubious mentor to her teen charges.

-- "The Nelsons," from scribes Peter and Dee Steinfeld and director Sonnenfeld, centers on an average American family who, unbeknownst to their neighbors and friends, are superheroes.

Book properties play a major part in Timberman and Beverly's development strategy this season. In addition to Leonard's story and Block's novels, the CAA-repped Timberman/Beverly has optioned Meg Wolitzer's "The Ten Year Nap," with Judith Verno attached as exec producer, and Iain Levison's "A Working Stiff's Manifesto."

"More so than ever, we felt it was a good time to explore alternative sources of material for great characters, whose points of view and circumstances aren't currently reflected on air," Beverly said.