His previous pet TV project, Arrested Development, became one of the most acclaimed series of the past decade.
Now, Ron Howard is back with a new idea for another comedy series at Fox -- a workplace comedy set at an Internal Revenue Service district office.
Fox has committed to a pilot, grabbing the project pre-emptively before it could be pitched to other networks.
It will be written by Brent Forrester, writer-director on another workplace comedy, NBC's The Office. Forrester and Howard are executive producing with Howard's partners at Imagine TV, Brian Grazer and David Nevins.
It's an idea Ron had toyed with for many years as a feature, Nevins said. Eventually, Brian and I convinced him it would be better as a TV show.
The three met with several writers until hitting it off with Forrester.
The one thing that unites all Americans is their suspicion and hatred for the IRS, Forrester said. That makes the characters on the show underdogs, because outside the office everyone is suspicious of them.
The IRS agent at the center is trying hard to believe that his job is good and noble and provides a very important, vital service, Forrester said. It's a classic workplace show; the model for it is 'Taxi,' Forrester said.
In essence, it's a group of eclectic characters who have come to the job from different paths and who represent different points of view and different voices.
There will be procedural elements to the show, too.
'L.A. Law' had lawsuits, and 'CSI' has murders; this show has audits, tax collection and special ops, with the FBI against organized crime and drug dealers, Forrester said.