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Fox is ready for some football.
Following prolonged negotiations, the network has handed out a hefty put-pilot commitment with a significant penalty attached to Fantasy Life, an adaption of ESPN analyst Matthew Berry‘s best-selling book of the same name, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Kevin Connolly is attached to star in the office comedy as Mitch, a regular guy who lands his ultimate dream job working in the fantasy sports department at a major sports network. Tim McAuliffe (Bad Teacher, Satisfaction, The Office, Up All Night) will pen the script and executive produce alongside Connolly, 3 Arts’ Jonathan Berry, Greg Walter, Michael Rotenberg and Troy Zien.
Fantasy Life, from 20th Century Fox Television,will be a multicamera hybrid comedy in a vein similar to CBS/20th’s How I Met Your Mother.
Berry’s Fantasy Life was published in July 2013 and became a New York Times best-seller. The book chronicles Berry’s journey from a 14-year-old fantasy player to the face of fantasy sports for ESPN.com, where he serves as fantasy sports analyst and columnist. Berry, coincidentally, is a former TV writer whose credits include Fox’s Married … With Children, Roseanne, Grace Under Fire and Sports Night, among others.
For Connolly, the comedy comes just days after 20th inked the former Entourage star to his second overall deal with the studio to develop projects alongside 3 Arts. The actor previously starred in CBS/20th’s short-lived comedy Friends With Better Lives last season. An avid football fan, Connolly also directed ESPN’s hockey-themed Big Shot episode in its 30 for 30 series. Repped by CAA, 3 Arts and PJ Shapiro, he next reprises his role on the upcoming Entourage movie.
McAuliffe is repped by UTA and 3 Arts.
For Fox, the comedy comes as the network currently carries Sunday afternoon and evening NFL games.
Sports is among the early trends this development season, with other broadcast networks also developing pro-sports scripted fare. Should Fantasy Life move forward, it would join FX’s similarly themed comedy The League.
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