EXCLUSIVE: ABC has given a put pilot commitment to Mourning Songs, a musical family comedy from former New Girl executive producers/co-showrunners Dave Finkel and Brett Baer; Michael Seitzman and Christina Davis’ Maniac Prods; and ABC Studios, where the company is based.
Mourning Songs is based on the life and Instagram feed of songwriter Ryan Langer. Co-written by Finkel & Baer with Langer, the single-camera comedy centers on a 35-year-old composer who, after the tragic death of his father, is forced to move back home to live with his mom, help his family heal and grow up, possibly for the very first time.
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Langer was an aspiring songwriter working in New York when his father, a Los Angeles trial lawyer, was killed in an office shooting in December 2017.
He quit his job, packed his bags and moved back home to help take care of the family business. Three months on, Langer felt ready to write songs again. With no current professional assignments, he found an outlet online, recording 15-second songs with Instagram’s hands-free story tool and posting the clips on a new account he created, @mourningsongs.
He set out to write a short, 15-second song every day for a year. He would post the tunes — which dealt with anything that was on Langer’s mind — every morning, giving another dimension to the moniker.
“It may sound strange, but this project has helped me work through my grief by giving me the little bit of time every day to actually not think about our horrific loss at every waking moment,” Langer wrote in a first-person account of his experience, published by Modern Loss.
Below are a few of Langer’s short songs: a ditty he performed with his sister introducing her new baby, a message to Josh Groban, and the final thank-you note at the end of the yearlong journey.
Finkel and Baer were on New Girl for Fox comedy series’ entire seven-season run, rising to executive producers/co-showrunners alongside creator Liz Meriwether. Their credits also include NBC’s 30 Rock.