MTV’s “Underemployed” series joins “Boss” here this spring

KELSEY GRAMMER WAS VISIBLY SURPRISED at winning a Golden Globe for “best lead actor in a TV series” for “Boss” was a surprise to him – after all, he was up against stiff competition – but not to fans of Starz gritty Chicago-set series “Boss.”

Grammer, who co-produces the show, thanked Starz’ bosses for greenlighting the series without a pilot.  This is Grammer’s fourth Globe to go along with his three Emmys.

“Boss’” second 8-episode series starts shooting March 5 at Cinestage studios, with hopefully many more to follow.   

SHOOTING CONCURRENTLY with “Boss” will be 8 episodes of MTV’S “Underemployed,” from mid-April through mid-July.  Scripted by award-winning writer Craig Wright (“Lost,” “Six Feet Under”) and directed by Troy Miller (“Parks and Recreation”) the single-camera pilot was shot here last year ago. It’s likely L.A.-based producer Wileen Dragovon, who produced the pilot also will produce the show.

MTV describes the Chicago-set show thusly: Five college grads are set to dazzle the world with their brilliance. A year later, cold reality has set in and the group struggles, often comically, to stay optimistic through dead-end odd jobs, terrible bosses, romantic mistakes and major life changes.”

As you may recall, when we originally reported the “Underemployed” pilot, angry fans of Michael Lippert’s “Fun Employed” webisodes pointed out the amazing coincidence (?) between the two shows. 

“Fun Employed’s” storyline:  Five Chicago 20-something college grads and best friends face reality as they through a series of odd jobs and low-paying gigs as they attempt to start their careers. 

WHEN UTOPIC EXPANDED into spot production late last year under executive producer Michael Antonucci, the integrated studio hired Heather Mitchell to replace him in the new position of post executive producer.  She leads a staff of eight, including three editors, a Smoke editor, 3D designer and audio engineer.

Mitchell joined after a 10 year stint as senior producer at Burrell Communications, where she frequently worked with Utopic principals.  “It was a mutual decision that came to us at the same time,” she says.  I started Nov. 1 and it’s been bam busy ever since.”  Currently in production are projects for Advil, Kellogg’s, McDonald’s and Bosch auto parts, among others. 

SAVE THOSE TICKETS!  The Jan. 20 CAF Silver Medal luncheon at the Drake Hotel, honoring the accomplishments of Euro RSCG top gun Ron Bess has been postponed “for unavoidable personal reasons,” says CAF spokesman Steve Sapka.  A new date is being rescheduled for the honors affair, so hold onto your tickets or you can turn them in to the CAF for a refund.

DRAFTFCB IS ASKING EMPLOYEES to participate in an all-agency competition to come up with “ideas that drive agency culture.”  Last week an enterprising anonymous staffer submitted his idea – in the form of a 550 lb. pony (awwww) who answers to the name of Patti Cakes.  No one is quite sure how it relates to the agency culture, but it was certainly an different approach. 

Five winners of the most imaginative and appropriate ideas will each receive $1,000, to be awarded at an all-agency meeting later this month.

“THE INTERRUPTERS” DOC is picking up well-deserved awards like crazy – the latest being the top two prizes at the fifth annual Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking in New York last week.

Director Steve James won for outstanding achievement in direction, marking the first time one film has received both   honors from Cinema Eye.  James and co-producer Alex Kotlowitz accepted the best feature prize from fellow docmeister Michael Moore.

Kotlowitz is the best selling and award-winning author of “There are No Children Here” and other books on race and social justic.

“The Interrupters” will air Feb. 14 on PBS and is now available on DVD for $24.99.

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