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Ron Howard seeks solace in new Silverman sitcom

Comedian Sarah Silverman
Comedian Sarah Silverman

Last month Universal Pictures announced the closure of its ambitious, long-simmering big-and-small-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s Dark Tower book series. On the heels of that failure, today comes word that Ron Howard and long-time producing partner Brian Grazer, who spearheaded Tower, have turned to an unlikely place for solace: Sarah Silverman. You read correctly. It looks like it’s out of the arms of the King and into the embrace the quirky, whacky, foul-mouthed Silverman.

Deadline Hollywood reports that ABC, NBC, and Fox are bidding heavily for Silverman’s upcoming, as-yet-untitled, partially autobiographical sitcom project. Howard and Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment are producing along with 20th Century Fox TV. Grazer will serve as executive producer, with Howard taking an uncharacteristic interest in the project.

Normally, Grazer handles Imagine’s TV side, and Howard mostly oversees the theatrical division. As with the award-winning Arrested Development, however, Howard has reportedly stepped in on the Silverman project, playing a large role in both its development and in trying to secure a network for the fledgling sitcom.

The series will center around Silverman's character, an unmarried woman coping with single life following the break up of a 10-year relationship. Silverman herself serves as a writer along with her partners from her Comedy Central series, Dan Sterling and Jon Schroeder.

Apparently, Howard, Grazer, and at least three of the major networks anticpate the show becoming a hit. Admittedly, Silverman's quirky, bubbly, off-the-wall personality and sense of humor do seem potentially well suited for network TV. That's assuming, of course, she can censor herself a bit. Although sometimes known to take risks, none of the major networks are likely to be as accepting of Silverman's lewder, raunchier side as Comedy Central was. And she toned it down quite a bit for Comedy Central compared to her standup routine.

Then again, success on network TV offers the potential of big money and that may be enough for the comedian to reign herself in. It's almost a certainty, though, she'll be pushing both buttons and boundaries as the series unfolds. Assuming the show's a hit, regardless of who secures the rights, network executives are certain to suffer more than a few sleepless nights even as the money rolls in.


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