Friday, January 10, 2014

young & hungry (or, my crazy news)

You may have seen a few posts in my Facebook and Twitter feeds about theridiculous, crazy, wild news of a TV show inspired by BrokeAss Gourmet and my adventures in and out of the kitchen. I've had a few requests for an explanation of, um, how the hell that happened, so I thought I'd share one in the same place this whole thing started: my blog. 

In early 2011, I got an email from an agent at Creative Artists Agency. He loved BrokeAss Gourmet, and wanted to know if I had ever considered doing something with it in the scripted TV realm. Say, a sitcom?
Uh, no. I hadn't considered doing that before.
But he truly thought there was something there. Eventually, he found a few production companies interested in meeting with me. Still in disbelief that anyone would actually think that a show inspired by my life would be something people would want to watch, I flew to LA. My first book, The BrokeAss Gourmet Cookbook, had just come out, so I stuffed a few copies of it into my falling-apartTarget purse, swiped on some red lipstick, and hoped to be taken at least a little bit seriously.
Lo and behold, The Tannenbaum Company, creators of CBS' mega-hit, Two and a Half Men, loved me. They wanted to get started right away. My agent assured me that this was very, very good. I could not believe it. 
My disbelief continued, as the Tannenbaum Company brought me back down to Los Angeles to interview writers. In case you've never interviewed someone who is up for the job of writing the TV version of your life, allow me to tell you: it's very surreal. You might even find yourself laughing out loud during the process because you can't believe it's happening.
But then, if you're lucky, the process will lead you to meet a writer whom you just know is the one. When the meeting ends, you won't want him to go. He is Dave Holden. And he was the one for my show. Which, of course, I still couldn't believe was starting to take shape.
Dave came to San Francisco to absorb a little bit of BrokeAss Gourmet at the source. He met my family, a few of my friends, and of course, Evan. Then he set to work, writing the pilot script.
The pilot went through several iterations. Dave workshopped it with The Tannenbaum Company for weeks until they had something they were truly happy with. The story of a feisty young food blogger named Gabi, who lives in the Mission district in San Francisco and applies for a job as a personal chef to a Zuckerberg-type character. She is klutzy and blunt, but full of heart and aspiration. Dave called the show Young & Hungry.
Then, we pitched to the networks. I made Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies and distributed more copies of my book to network executives. Then, we waited.
At first, we didn't hear much, so I banished the possibility of this actually manifesting to the tiny attic in my brain, where unlikely dreams are stored. 
But then, something crazy happened. 
While visiting friends in Tulsa, I got a call from my agent. "It looks like we've got an offer from ABC Family!" he told me.
I happen to love ABC Family. Pretty Little Liars is my sorry-not-sorry guilty pleasure. They were interested in my show?! 
And they were. So much so, that they greenlit a pilot
Then, they cast it.
Emily Osment, of Hannah Montana fame, as Gabi Diamond, our protagonist
Jonathan Sadowski, of $#*! My Dad Says, as Josh Kaminski, Gabi's tech entrepreneur boss; Rex Lee of Entourage, as Josh's publicist/assistant
Annie Potts of GCB, Designing Women, and, of course, Ghostbusters, as Donna Kaminski, Josh's overbearing mother
The Americans' Aimee Carrero as Gabi's best friend and roommate, Sofia Rodriguez
Australian newcomer, Mallory Jansen, as Caroline, Josh's high society girlfriend
The inimitable Kym Whitley, of Curb Your Enthusiasm plays Yolanda, Josh's housekeeper
And finally, Top Chef winner and owner of Los Angeles' inkMichael Voltaggio, as himself. 
So Evan and I flew to Los Angeles to watch the taping of the show, and you guys, it was good.
I realize I'm biased, but it was the kind of show I'd want to watch, even if it weren't directly connected to me. The characters are lovable, but real. You want to hang out with them. More specifically, you want to share a meal and a few drinks with them. 
And then, this Monday, the unimaginable happened: ABC Family picked up the show. It's going to series. Production starts this spring, and the show will premiere later in 2014. 
I can't begin to express how blown away I am. It feels like yesterday that the concept of this maybe being a faint possibility was just introduced to me. But here we are.
I'll keep you posted on my involvement, as we get closer to the premiere. But for now, I'm going to celebrate with a few cocktails and an incredible meal.


annelies said...

Hey Gabi - this is the first I am hearing of this. Congrats!

Enza's Bargains said...

Hi Gabi, I have had an opportunity to interview most of the cast and the director (who spoke highly of you). I would love to do a phone interview with you to publish on one of my sites. and contact me there.

Softspot said...

Thanks for the article. You are good in writing.