Viola Davis has given ABC the premise for its next great single-camera comedy and the network will be working with her to develop the potential series, The Hollywood Reporter learned.
The Zipcoders, based on an original idea from Davis and her husband Julius Tennon, is a comedy set in the 1960s centering around a divorced mother of three who moves her family to the east side of Austin, Texas, after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., to be closer to her estranged sister. In Austin, her son forms a rock ’n’ roll band with aspirations to be like The Beatles, much to the surprise of his community.
Davis and Tennon, who is also her JuVee Productions partner, proposed the idea for the show with hopes to tell a story about African-American teens with ‘60s hair and bell-bottoms in the middle of the Deep South.
Marshall Todd (Barbershop), who will pen the script and be credited as exec producer on the show, created this family show centered around the rocks group and pitched it to ABC Studios and ABC.
“The Zipcoders is near and dear to my heart. Viola and I love what Marshall Todd put on the page — the world, the characters and a fun-loving take on music, relationships, dreams and family,” Tennon said. “Over our conference room door is etched ‘Dream Big. Dream Fierce,’ and this show really underlines that ethos.”
“This project gives me the opportunity to tell a story that, while specific to the African-American experience, doesn’t travel in the usual tropes,” Todd said. “As a parent, I was inspired to tell a story from the dual perspective of parents and children in a world where the rules are constantly changing. Music has always been a passion of mine, and to be able to use it to inform this particular narrative was a provocative challenge. I have found in Viola and the squad at JuVee the perfect co-conspirators dedicated to telling the types of stories that entertain while contributing to the larger cultural conversation.”
This sale of The Zipcoders by JuVee Productions, repped by CAA, will be the company’s second sale this season via their overall deal with ABC Studios.
“In the tradition of ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat and Black-ish, The Zipcoders offers a compelling and comical take on a family dealing with rapidly changing cultural attitudes,” said JuVee head of TV and executive producer Andrew Wang. “This is a show about following your own path, and it’s a love letter to all the musical and artistic trailblazers who dared to be different and shifted the paradigm.”