CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- The latest development news, culled from various wire reports each morning:
The Family Friendly Programming Forum is considering 15 scripts from four of the major broadcast networks for funding through its Family Friendly Script Development Fund. The Forum, which consists of 40 major national advertisers, is designed to encourage the broadcast networks to, as you might have guessed, develop more family friendly programming. Previous recipients include the WB's "Gilmore Girls" and "Family Affair," NBC's "American Dreams," as well as ABC's "Eight Simple Rules" and "Veritas: The Quest."
The fund works by giving seed money to the broadcast networks to purchase family friendly scripts deemed worthy by the Programming Forum. Those scripts that get pilot orders then return the money to the fund for the following development season. Those that then make it to series then have the group's seal of approval of being "safe" for viewers to watch with their families. The idea is that since the Programming Fund eats the cost of any failed family-friendly scripts, networks are more likely to develop programming that fits the group's profile.
Among the submitted scripts:
The WB: "Immediate Family" (Spelling TV), "Eddie's Father" (Warner Bros. TV/Pariah), "Run of the House" (Warner Bros. TV/The Tannenbaum Co.), "Exit 9" (Warner Bros. TV) and "Like Family" (Warner Bros. TV), all of which have pilot orders for fall 2003 consideration. Also submitted was "Mr. Logan" (Paramount Pictures TV), starring Bow Wow, which has been pushed back to midseason.
CBS: "Family Show" (Sony) and "Untitled Rob Long/Dan Staley Project," about a widower with two kids who works at the family bar (Paramount). Both are cast-contigent pilot orders.
NBC: "Untitled Tracy Morgan Project" (Carsey-Werner-Mandabach/NBC Studios/SNL Studios), which has received a pilot order.
While there is no limit to the number of scripts the group would deem family friendly, the amount of reimbursement money is limited to how many advertisers participate in the Fund. This year, 16 companies are participating. Previous contributors include AT&T, FedEX, Ford, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg, PepsiCo., Sears, Sprint and Verizon.
Sources: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Reuters