Entertainment & Arts

President Obama's speechwriter gets sitcom commission

Cast of 1600 Penn
Image caption 1600 Penn is described as a Modern Family-type sitcom

US network NBC has commissioned President Obama's former speechwriter, Jon Lovett, to make a sitcom about family life in the White House.

Book of Mormon star Josh Gad and Modern Family director Jason Winer are also behind the show, titled 1600 Penn - after the presidential address.

Bill Pullman stars as the US president in the comedy, with Dharma and Greg star Jenna Elfman as the First Lady.

NBC has initially ordered 13 episodes of the show.

It is the second time Pullman has portrayed the US president, after playing the role in 1996 blockbuster Independence Day.

Gad will also star as the out-of-control eldest son.

Lovett, who is also serving as executive producer on the show, spent three years working as President Obama's speechwriter in Washington before leaving in September to pursue a career in Hollywood.

In November, after he sold the pilot to NBC, Lovett told The Hollywood Reporter the comedy would not be based on real stories from the White House.

"Obviously, my experiences are going to inform what I do, but this family will have absolutely nothing to do with the president," he said.

"The idea is that this is a dysfunctional family, and the first family today is so far from that, it's ridiculous."

1600 Penn is the latest in White House-themed shows hitting US TV screens.

Armando Iannucci's comedy Veep began last month on HBO. The show stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a senator who becomes vice president and learns that the job is nothing like she'd imagined. It has just been renewed for a second series.

This July, Sigourney Weaver will star in Political Animals - playing a former first lady to a philandering president who becomes the Secretary of State.

Meanwhile in the UK, satirical 1980s political comedy Yes, Prime Minister is to be revived for a new six-part series later this year on TV channel Gold.

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