EXCLUSIVE: Felicity Huffman is returning to acting — and to ABC — with a single-camera comedy that has landed a big pilot production commitment at the network. The Peanut Butter Falcon‘s Zack Gottsagen co-stars in the project from Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment.

Becky Hartman EdwardsBecky Hartman Edwards

Hartman Edwards
Courtesy photo

Written by Becky Hartman Edwards, the untitled comedy is inspired by Susan Savage, the real-life owner of the Triple-A baseball team the Sacramento River Cats. It marks the first project Huffman has taken on since the 2019 college admission scandal.

The Emmy-winning actress has been heavily courted for TV series and pilots since she completed her short prison sentence after pleading guilty to fraud more than a year ago. Kaplan approached Huffman with the idea about a series inspired by Savage, which she responded to. He brought on Hartman Edwards as a writer, and Gottsagen, who has a talent deal with Kapital, came on board to co-star opposite Huffman. The project was taken out, attracting multiple offers and ultimately landing at ABC. It was then laid off at ABC Signature.

Zack GottsagenZack Gottsagen

Gottsagen
AP Images

A funny, surprising and occasionally heartbreaking half-hour about love, loss, family and Triple-A baseball, the project stars Huffman as the unlikely owner of a minor-league baseball team. After suddenly losing her husband and inheriting his beloved team, she is forced to navigate her new normal with the help of her dysfunctional family, including her oldest son (Gottsagen), a baseball devotee with Down syndrome, her work family and the Sacramento community at large. This is the story of a woman navigating grief, local politics and the business of sports and learning not just to adjust, but to thrive.

Hartman Edwards, Huffman and Savage executive produce alongside Kapital’s Kaplan and Dana Honor and Artists First’s Joel Zadak. Gottsagen is a producer. ABC Signature is the studio.

Huffman and Kaplan both have long history at ABC.

All three TV series Huffman has been a lead of have been on ABC and all have garnered critical acclaim: comedy Sports Night, dramedy Desperate Housewives and drama anthology American Crime. All three roles earned Huffman major award nominations; she won an Emmy for Desperate Housewives.

Kaplan’s first pilot as a producer, comedy Funny In Farsi, was at ABC. He currently has three series on the network: drama A Million Little Things, comedy American Housewife and the upcoming limited series Women of the Movement.

In TV, Huffman most recently co-starred on Ava DuVernay’s award-winning Netflix limited series When They See Us. On the feature side, the Oscar-nominated Huffman’s most recent credits include Netflix’s The Otherhood and indie Tammy’s Always Dying. She is repped by ICM Partners.

Peanut Butter Falcon marked the feature acting debut for Gottsagen. His role as aspiring wrestler Zak in the buddy comedy-drama earned him accolades, including the Rising Star Award at the 2020 Palm Springs Film Festival and the 2020 Newcomer Award from the Hollywood Critics Association. He is repped by KMR’s Gail Williamson, Zadak and attorney Priya Verma at Morris Yorn.

Hartman Edwards recently served as executive producer on ABC’s The Baker and the Beauty and Freeform’s The Bold Type. She is repped by UTA, Literate and Del Shaw Moonves.

In 1999, the Pacific Coast League’s Triple-A Vancouver Canadians were purchased by a group led by Art Savage who moved the team to West Sacramento, renaming it the River Cats. Savage was the majority owner of the team until his death in November 2009 at age 58. His widow, Susan, became majority owner upon her husband’s death, leading the franchise to success. In 2016, the River Cats were named minor-league baseball’s most valuable franchise with a value of $49 million. The team is the reigning Triple-A national champion having won the championship game last year.

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