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Fox has made its first series pickups of the season with a trio of half-hours.
In its bid to beef up its live-action offerings, the top-rated network has ordered single-camera comedies from both 20th Century Fox TV and Universal Television. Ben & Kate, previously Ben Fox Is My Manny, and The Goodwin Games hail from the former; the Untitled Mindy Kaling comedy comes from the latter.
Ben is based on the life of writer/executive producer Dana Fox‘s brother, Ben. It stars Dakota Johnson as a single mother who gets an assist from her brother (The Descendants scribe Nat Faxon) who moves in with her to help raise her baby. Lucy Punch, Maggie Jones and Echo Kellum co-star in the 20th project in association with Chernin Entertainment. Fox penned the pilot and will exec produce alongside Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope. New Girl’s Jake Kasdan directed the pilot.
Games comes from How I Met Your Mother scribes Carter Bays, Craig Thomas and Chris Harris and stars HIMYM guest star Becki Newton along with Scott Foley and Jake Lacy as siblings who inherit their late father’s fortune — if they agree to his terms. The HIMYM trio created the project with Newton in mind after the actress guest-starred on their long-running CBS hit, which already has been renewed for next season. The project marks Foley’s return to a starring role on series television following a multiepisode turn on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy; he’ll also be recurring this season on HBO’s True Blood. His Felicity co-star, Scott Speedman, co-stars in ABC’s Shawn Ryan drama pilot The Last Resort, which has been garnering positive buzz. The pilot was helmed by Peyton Reed, who also serves as an EP.
Finally, The Office‘s Mindy Kaling stars as a young Bridget Jones-type doctor as she tries to navigate her personal and professional life in It’s Messy. Kaling will depart the NBC staple to focus on writing, executive producing and starring in the comedy, a passion project for the actress. The Office‘s Howard Klein will executive produce alongside Kaling and her now-former co-star, BJ Novak, who served as an EP on the pilot. Ed Weeks, Chris Messina, Anna Camp, Zoe Jarmon and Dana DeLorenzo co-star, while Bill Hader, Ed Helms and Richard Schiff will guest star in the pilot. The pickup is of significance for Universal Television, which is building out its stable of producers as it looks to expand beyond its own sister network.
The Fox order comes after NBC has already picked up six comedies to series.
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