NBC has hired a former Obama speechwriter to create a sitcom based on a dysfunctional family in the White House. The show will be called “1600 Penn.” It will be produced by, “among others, former Obama speech-writer Jon Lovett. Lovett left his Washington gig in September to write for television out west because, he told the Washington Post’s Jason Horowitz, ‘I would like to be able to write in my own voice.’” Could this be the comedic successor to The West Wing?
During his Washington life, Lovett wrote many of Obama’s speeches about financial reform, seeded laugh lines into Rahm Emanuel’s commencement speeches, and wrote jokes for Obama’s White House Correspondents’ dinner remarks, for which he “went into comedy overdrive,” his former boss David Axelrod told The Post’s Horowitz.
NBC had great ratings success years ago with a White House drama called “West Wing” which starred Martin Sheen as POTUS and whose writers included congressional staffer (now cable-show host) Lawrence O’Donnell, as well as former Clinton White House (and Al Gore) speechwriter Eli Attie.
While this might not sound like the greatest upcoming show, I would keep an eye out for VEEP on HBO, which is produced and directed by Armando Iannucci. He was the creator of the brilliant political movie In the Loop and TV show The Thick of It. The Washington Post ’s report on both shows here.