Sarah Cooper, Tom Smallwood Comedies Get CBS Pilot Orders

Nellie Andreeva
·3 min read

CBS has handed pilot orders to two untitled half-hour comedies: one inspired by TikTok star Sarah Cooper’s book How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings, from writer Cindy Chupack and producers Nina Tassler and Denise Di Novi; and one based on professional bowler Tom Smallwood’s life, from writer Mark Gross and producers David Hollander and Brian D’Arcy James. Both projects hail from CBS Studios.

They join recently ordered hourlong pilot True Lies, based on the movie, as well as several 2020 pilots from last year that were pushed by the pandemic. The network also has a CSI revival and NCIS and FBI spinoffs in the works.

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The single-camera Cooper/Chupack comedy, which CBS landed last summer with a script commitment plus penalty, was co-written by Cooper and Chupack. It revolves around three women at different stages in their careers at a male-dominated company who help each other navigate modern gender politics in their professional and personal lives.

Sex and the City alumna Chupack, who serves as showrunner, executive produces with Cooper as well as Tassler and Di Novi’s via their PatMa Productions. The project falls under PatMa’s first-look deal with CBS.

Thanks to her breakout online video lip-sync impressions of President Donald Trump, Cooper emerged as the “it” comedy talent last summer as her videos ranked tens of millions of views. Prior to her online success, Cooper was a writer and correspondent on the CBS All Access pilot Old News, produced by Stephen Colbert. In addition to How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men’s Feelings, Cooper wrote 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. She also was a writer on Science!, the animated series created by Archer’s Neal Holman that aired on Syfy’s animated block. Next up, she is set to write a modern, comedic take on a Dale Carnegie book for Audible Originals.

“I was so excited when PatMa approached me about my book,” Cooper said at the time the pitch was sold to CBS. “I met with Cindy soon after and we immediately connected to this idea of sharing the experiences of women in their careers and personal lives in a way that stays true to what people love about the book but brings them to life through characters people will identify with. Cindy totally got the sensibility and the satire but she also has the experience of telling compelling stories. I am thrilled to be working with her on this.”

The multi-camera Tom Smallwood Project was written by Mark Gross (Man With a Plan). In it, after being laid off from the assembly line at the GM factory, a seemingly ordinary man makes the extraordinary decision to provide for his family by following his dream of becoming a professional bowler.

Gross executive produces with former Ray Donovan showrunner David Hollander (American Gigolo) and Brian D’Arcy James; there are no plans for James to act. Hollander’s executive Marina Dompke is serving as a producer.

Smallwood is a professional 10-pin bowler currently competing on the PBA Tour. After early struggles on the tour, he took a job at a metal shop, which led to him being hired by General Motors’ Pontiac East Assembly Plant in 2008 but he was laid off just months later. He returned to the PBA Tour and found success.

Cooper is repped by WME, Morris Yorn and David Black Agency.

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