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Hollywood Writer Discovers Washington; Writes Sitcom Pilot

"How I Met Your Mother" executive producer Greg Malins will try to resuscitate "Three's Company" for ABC - only this time it's set in Washington and the three young people who are shacking up together...are all newly elected members of Congress.


But wait - it gets better. Malins is partnered with Huffington Post's Arianna Huffington and founding editor Roy Sekoff to develop the sitcom.

This project is far from a certainty. ABC has thrown some money at Malins for his pilot script -- one the boatloads of scripts ABC has ordered for next season. Network suits have not decided whether to move foward with Malin's project.

Malins is giving his "Three's Company" a thorough dusting off. This time, instead of two chicks (making a star of Suzanne Somers) and a guy (making a star of John Ritter) it will be two guys and one chick who wind up sharing an apartment in Washington.

This according to the Hollywood trade papers which were given the story. How do we know? Here's the tip-off; when you see a paragraph in a trade-paper story that goes like this:

"It's a busy development season for Malins, who's also working on a comedy-minded criminal drama for Fox with mystery novelist Harlan Coben."

Malins told one of the trades he'd always been a political junkie "following all that stuff."

We'll take a moment here, so you can savor that sentence.

Back to work: But Malins says he only recently learned that members of Congress "often live together," adding "there's your story right there."

Here's where the trades noted that politicians in Washington who room together include Democratic politicians Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, George Miller and Bill Delahunt, who all share a house. And yet, not a chick in the bunch. Too bad!

Apparently "following stuff" does not extend to, oh say, reading the New York Times, which wrote about these same four Dems who shack up together in 1994, 1995, 2005 and 2007. Too bad Malins didn't at least catch that 2005 article in which the reporter did his legwork for him, suggesting "this has the makings of a television sitcom. "

Huffington and Sekoff will both be "executive producers on the show if it goes forward. If it does, it would be produced by 20th Century Fox TV, where Malins has an "overall" deal.

FYI, an "overall deal" means the studio is paying for your office, your overhead, plus some kind of salary. Usually what happens is that, in return for all this largesse, the studio becomes the production house and distributor of anything creative you cough up.

Malins told trade paper Variety he's an avid reader of Huffington Post - doubling the number of times the Web site got a plug in that trade today.

According to Malins, Huffington and Sekoff are also hard at work cooking up Web tie-ins to the gestating series, including campaign Web sites for the fictitious characters.

And because, if the series ever sees the light of day, it would be a broadcast-TV sitcom, Malins must adhere to the One of This/One of That Rule. So one of the politicians will be left-leaning, one will be right-leaning,and one will be an independent -- and hilarity will ensue.

Also one will have a wife back home, one will be single, and one will be recently divorced -- which is laugh riot right there.

The original "Three's Company," which ran on ABC from 1977 to 1984, also followed the One of This/One of That Rule. The guy was a Navy veteran and culinary student from San Diego. One of the chicks was down-to-earth - code in Hollywood for "brunette" and "Midwestern" - who worked for a florist. The other chick was ditsy - Hollywood code for "blonde" and "Valley girl" -- secretary. That show -- itself a remake of a Britcom called "Man About the House" -- ran on ABC from 1977 to 1984.

"The stories are endless," Malins said of a sitcom about the inhabitants of Washington, adding "They're all crazy."

By Lisa de Moraes  |  September 16, 2009; 12:29 PM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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I foresee the kind of zaniness normally reserved for a session of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Woo hoo!

Posted by: kbockl | September 16, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

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