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The network has handed out a script-plus-penalty commitment for an untitled comedy from writer Jessica Gao, who recently took home the best animated program Emmy for writing the “Pickle Rick” episode of Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty.
The single-camera project, which was pitched with the title Lazy Rich Asians, revolves around Janet Zhao, a first-generation Chinese-American woman who struggles to set healthy boundaries with her crazy, exhausting family. When her wealthy grandmother dies and names Janet the sole inheritor, she suddenly finds herself the unwilling new matriarch of the family she’s spent her life trying to keep at arm’s length.
Gao will pen the script and executive produce the CBS Television Studios and Imagine TV effort alongside the latter company’s Brian Grazer, Francie Calfo and Samie Kim Falvey.
The order for the comedy arrives as Crazy Rich Asians has defied box-office expectations, grossing more than $164.3 million worldwide (with $135.8 million of that domestically) on a budget of $30 million. The feature film’s success has opened the door for other Asian-American-fronted TV and movie projects, while also helping to revive the rom-com genre.
ABC is also teaming with writer Lisa Takeuchi Cullen and exec producers Viola Davis and Julius Tennon to develop the hourlong drama ‘Ohana, based on the 1994 novel Shark Dialogues that follows four hapa women who reunite when their grandmother, a mystic known as a kahuna, dies and leaves them the family plantation. Meanwhile, FX recently picked up a limited take on Shogun, which has already been the subject of controversy.
Gao, who counts Take My Wife and Star Wars: Detours among her credits, is repped by ICM Partners and 3 Arts.
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