THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES: Next fall’s debuts are being developed now, and the first news and rumours are starting to emerge of the shows that will raise their moist little heads during early summer’s upfronts before their baptism by fire in the fall. So far, the most intriguing pilot seems to be ABC’s half-hour sitcom based around the petulant cavemen in the Geico commercial.
According to a Variety story, the copywriter behind the Geico spots, Joe Lawson, has been hired to develop a show based on three of the thick-browed, jut-jawed Neanderthals, trying to live a normal thirtysomething life in Atlanta while coping with homo sapiens bigotry. Will Speck and Josh Gordon, directors of the upcoming Will Ferrell comedy Blades Of Glory, are the directors on the project, as well as executive producers.
The Geico caveman ads – perfectly scripted and acted little vignettes – are often funnier in less than a minute than too many of the sitcoms they interrupt. While it might be possible to give credit to Lawson, it’s also hard to dismiss the contribution from actors Jeff Daniel Phillips and Ben Weber, who played the cavemen in the spots for the Richmond, Va.-based Martin Agency. According to the Variety piece, there’s no word about whether Phillips and Weber will be cast for the show. Which means there’s still time to cast Michael Richards, I guess.
In other new show news, CBS is developing a vehicle for Joan Of Arcadia star Amber Tamblyn, an “apocalyptic comedic drama about the dead being resurrected and trying to resume their former lives” according to a Hollywood Reporter story. To be titled Babylon Fields, the show will feature Tamblyn as “a young woman who, after being abused by her father, teamed with her mom to kill him only to see him come back.” Six months before the show might even hit the air, I can confidently predict that this one will fail to walk upright.
A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY: George Lucas told a worshipful audience at L.A.’s Museum Of Radio And Television’s Paley Festival on Saturday that movies were no way to strike it rich, that blockbuster movies are no fun to make, and that TV is more creative since “you just get to do whatever you want to do.”
Lucas told the fan boy-studded crowd that he’s still in production on the 3-D animated Clone Wars series, which will see a full hundred episodes in the can before it’ll be offered to any network, and that the live-action Star Wars series that is supposed to follow it is “still a few years away.”
Lucas then took advance orders on the spot for action figures for both new shows, and used the proceeds to buy Australia, New Zealand and most of Micronesia, which he said he said he would rename “Skywalker Hemisphere” after evicting the inhabitants to make way room for his asteroid collection.