ABC has picked up single-camera comedy The Zipcoders from Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions. This will be the second project that JuVee has sold to ABC.
Written by Marshall Todd (Barbershop), The Zipcoders 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, her teenage son forms a rock ‘n’ roll band, to the utter bewilderment of friends, family and the community at large.
“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. Over our conference room door is etched ‘Dream Big, Dream Fierce’ and this show really underlines that ethos.” – Julius Tennon
The Zipcoders stems from an original idea developed at JuVee about a group of teenage friends growing up in East Austin who aspire to be a rock band like the Beatles. With the image of a group of African-American teenagers with feathered hair and bell bottoms in the middle of the Deep South, the company met with potential writers. The producers went with Todd who, after doing some research on late-’60s America, found immediate parallels to the issues the country is dealing with today — politically, racially and musically.
“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. 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.” – Marshall Todd
Davis and Tennon are set to executive produce through JuVee, along with Todd.
Earlier this year, JuVee Productions signed an overall deal with ABC Studios. Under the agreement, Davis and Tennon will be developing new projects for broadcast, cable, and streaming services through JuVee for ABC Studios and its cable/digital division ABC Signature. Just last week it was announce that Davis and Tennnon sold Head Games, a neurotic thriller drama from The Art of More creator Chuck Rose to the network. Davis is also set star alongside Denzel Washington in the film adaptation of the Broadway play Fences, Steve McQueen’s upcoming thriller Windows, and was most recently seen in the fantasy/crime thriller Suicide Squad.