November 30, 2009 / 4:30 AM / 9 years ago

Sonnenfeld takes helm of "Farsi" comedy pilot

Executive producer and director of television series 'Pushing Daisies' Barry Sonnenfeld puffs on a cigar as he arrives for a screening of the program at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California August 16, 2007. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - ABC has handed out a pilot order to the single-camera comedy “Funny in Farsi,” with Barry Sonnenfeld on board to direct and executive produce.

Based on Firoozeh Dumas’ memoir, “Farsi” is inspired by the Iranian-born author’s experiences growing up in Newport Beach, California, during the 1970s. Dumas was 7 when her father, an engineer, moved her family from Iran to the U.S.

The book was adapted by Jeffrey Hodes and Nastaran Dibai (“According to Jim”), who wrote the pilot script.

Sonnenfeld, who won an Emmy for his directing work on ABC’s “Pushing Daisies,” first spotted “Farsi” last season when ABC gave it a director-contingent pilot order in February, but the network shelved it after the helmer was not available to direct.

Sonnenfeld since has set up shop at ABC, inking a two-year first-look deal last month with the network and ABC Studios. Under the pact, he is expected to direct and executive produce “Farsi” and another pilot for the network, probably a drama.

ABC is not the first broadcast network to take a stab at developing a comedy revolving around Iranian Americans. During the 2002-03 season, British Iranian comedian Omid Djalili co-penned a sitcom for NBC in which he starred as an Iranian professor transplanted to New York and working at his brother’s diner. The start of the Iraq War derailed the project. Djalili went on to co-star on the network’s comedy “Whoopi.”

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