article by Elizabeth Wagmeister via Variety.com
Viola Davis is expanding her work behind-the-camera, as she’s put a new comedy series into development with ABC, the network behind her show “How To Get Away With Murder.”
Davis will executive produce the single-cam, half-hour comedy “The Zipcoders” for ABC through her production company JuVee Productions.
Hailing from “Barbershop” screenwriter Marshall Todd, “The Zipcoders,” set in 1968, is about a divorced mother of three who moves her family to the East Side of Austin, Texas, soon after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., in an effort to be closer to her estranged sister. Once there, to the utter bewilderment of friends, family and the community at large, her teenage son forms a rock ‘n’ roll band with his group of friends who aspire to be like The Beatles.
“Zipcoders” is an original idea, which gained traction at JuVee, due to the “humorously iconic” image of a group of African-American teenagers with feathered hair and bell bottoms in the middle of the deep South. Todd became attached to the project, after he did research on the late 1960’s in America and found parallels to the issues our country is dealing with today — politically, racially and musically. He then pitched the family comedy to ABC Studios and the network.
“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,” said Todd, who will serve as co-exec producer on the series, in addition to writing. “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.”