ABC is taking viewers into the world of the NBA. The network, which already serves as broadcaster for the league’s games, is reportedly developing a scripted single-camera comedy centering on the professional basketball association and its players.
As reported by Deadline, the project hails from Dan Fogelman, the creator of ABC’S former sci-fi sitcom The Neighbors and its upcoming fairy tale-themed musical comedy, Galavant. The still-untitled half-hour buddy comedy will follow an NBA rookie who doesn’t speak English and a translator who doesn’t understand the language of basketball. “It’s basically the international Odd Couple set in the NBA,” Fogelman said of the series, per Deadline.
The show, which is being done with the full cooperation of the NBA, has apparently been in the works for quite some time. Fogelman has long since been looking to create a series centered on the world of basketball, but only with the support of the league itself. Striking that partnership took significant time and effort, as — like all professional sports leagues — the NBA is protective of its brand and doesn’t typically collaborate on projects like this.
But with the NBA now on board with the series, it means ABC and Fogelman will be able to use the names of actual players and teams, as opposed to having to create fictionalized versions. “For me getting to set a show in the world of the actual NBA where we don’t have to make up fake leagues and team names — it’s been a dream of mine,” Fogelman told Deadline.
Trophy Wife veterans Casey Johnson and David Windsor, who previously worked with Fogelman on his first show as a creator, the WB’s Like Family, will pen the forthcoming series. The three will co-executive produce alongside Aaron Kaplan (also a producer of ABC’s Neighbors), and Mandalay Sports Media’s Mike Tollin and Peter Guber, the latter of whom is also a co-owner of an NBA team, the Golden State Warriors.
The series is reportedly being fast-tracked in the development process and though no actors have signed on just yet, a casting director has already been brought on board to look for options for the lead roles. Viewers will have to stay tuned for more specific details regarding both the cast and the plot. Still, given the early descriptions of the project, it seems as if the show is destined to find a sizable following in avid basketball fans — particularly since it already has the NBA’s backing.
Sports fans are an audience that ABC seems eager to tap into in recent days. The basketball comedy is actually the second professional sports sitcom that the network currently has in the works. In October, it was revealed that the channel also closed a deal for Men in Shorts, a comedy based on the life of professional soccer player Robbie Rogers.
Rogers became the first openly gay man to play in a major North American sports league after publicly revealing his sexual orientation in February 2013. Unlike Fogelman’s forthcoming basketball sitcom, the MLS is not involved in that particular project, although Rogers himself will reportedly have input as a producer.
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