Fox Aims for TV Rom-Com Hit With ‘Hitch’ Reboot

Source: Columbia Pictures

The trend of remaking movies for TV is showing no signs of slowing down. Fox is developing a single-camera, half-hour comedy inspired by Hitch, the 2005 feature film starring Will Smith.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network has already handed out a script commitment to the series. Written by Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont (Made of Honor, Can’t Hardly Wait), the small-screen adaptation has been described as a “workplace comedy that explores dating and sexual politics.” The project hails from Smith’s company Overbrook Entertainment, which also produced the original film, and Sony Pictures TV. Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith will executive produce alongside Overbrook’s James Lassiter and Caleeb Pinkett.

The movie starred Smith as Alex “Hitch” Hitchens, a professional “date doctor” who helps shy and socially awkward men meet and develop a relationship with the woman of their dreams. His skills are put to the test when client Albert Brennaman (Kevin James) wants to land a woman who seems to be way out of his league. Hitch also faces his own romantic problems after meeting gossip columnist Sara Meles (Eva Mendes). The blockbuster rom-com turned out to be a surprise hit, raking in close to $370 million worldwide at the box office.

This isn’t the first time Sony Pictures TV and Overbrook have considered adapting the film for the small screen. According to THR, the companies contemplated launching a Hitch series in 2007 and 2010, with different writers at CBS and Fox, but neither project moved forward.

It’s not surprising that Fox is willing to give it another go, given how well the movie performed at the box office. The network is clearly hoping to draw back some of the film’s initial audience. But while having an already established name may certainly help, now is not exactly the prime time for TV rom-coms. That has been made abundantly evident in this year’s fall slate alone. While new dramas like How to Get Away with Murder, superhero takes like The Flash and even comedy-dramas like Jane The Virgin are taking off, those sticking to the conventional romantic comedy format are getting slaughtered.

This season’s attempts at the genre, like ABC’S Manhattan Love Story and NBC’s A to Z, have already amassed an overwhelmingly negative reception from critics and viewers alike, and it seems like a safe bet that they’ll be among the first on the chopping block once networks start canceling shows. NBC’s Marry Me has only aired two episodes but is already going down in ratings.

The only new TV rom-com that has seemed garner any kind of positive buzz in recent months is FX’s You’re the Worst, which wrapped its first season this past summer and has been renewed for a second. But there may be a reason: The show, which earned critical praise, is a darker, much more cynical take on the genre. Even so, it wasn’t a smash breakout, generating decent ratings mostly by word of mouth.

So can Hitch do better with a hit film connected to the name? Fox certainly seems to think so — and this isn’t the only rom-com it’s betting on. The network is also reviving Monster-in-Law, as well as the romance-fantasy comedy Big. Other movie-to-TV adaptations in the works at differing channels include Marley & Me, Minority Report, Real Genius, Problem Child, and The Illusionist.

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