The TV Column: Lisa de Moraes on a D.C.-Based 'Three's Company'

Joyce DeWitt, John Ritter and Suzanne Somers.
Joyce DeWitt, John Ritter and Suzanne Somers. (Associated Press)
By Lisa de Moraes
Thursday, September 17, 2009

"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 has partnered with Huffington Post's Arianna Huffington and founding editor Roy Sekoff to develop the sitcom. Huffington and Sekoff will be executive producers on the show if it goes forward and are hard at work cooking up Web tie-ins to the gestating series, including campaign sites for the fictitious characters.

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

Malins is giving this version of "Three's Company" a thorough dusting off. This time, instead of two chicks (making a star of Suzanne Somers, but not of Joyce DeWitt) 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? The tip-off is when you see a paragraph in Variety 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 Variety 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."

The trades said lawmakers who room together include Democrats Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, George Miller and Bill Delahunt, who 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 shacked up together in 1994, 1995, 2005 and 2007. Too bad Malins didn't at least catch that 2005 article in which the reporter suggested "this has the makings of a television sitcom."

If ABC greenlights the series it would be produced by Fox Television, where Malins has an "overall" deal.

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