MIPCOM13: Sheri Elwood on finding comedy in used cars, bagels

The surprise comic wellspring for Sheri Elwood is her family upbringing.

The Canadian TV scribe’s Call Me Fitz for HBO Canada and DirecTV features Jason Priestley as a sleazy used car salesman battling with his conscience as part of an unlikeable character inspired by her brother.

Elwood told Playback on Sunday from MIPCOM that her mother once said of her brother “that boy is never going to get his act together until he has a stiff drink with his conscience.”

From that passing aside, Elwood conceived Call Me Fitz as a funhouse-mirror depiction of her brother’s misadventures on a second-hand car lot.


Call Me Fitz

Now in its fourth season, Call Me Fitz airs in more than 80 countries, and Elwood and Family Ties‘ Michael Gross, who had five-episode arc in the latest cycle, are in Cannes this week to help coproducer and distributor Entertainment One drum up additional foreign sales.

And Elwood also has in Bagel Nation, a single camera sitcom she wrote and now has in development for ABC/Disney via Warner Bros. TV and Jerry Bruckehimer Television, a laugher inspired by her real-life father.

The sitcom about a Lebanese father who moves his family above a Jewish deli is based in part on her father who ran a bagelria at the corner of Yonge and St. Clair in Toronto, even though he and his family are not Jewish.

“We just sold it, and I’m writing it now,” Elwood said of Bagel Nation, her latest collaboration with Hollywood super producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

There’s no word on whether Bagel Nation will be shot north of the border, as is Call Me Fitz out of Halifax.

To be sure, Nova Scotia provided a location for the buddy comedy because of its generous tax credits.

But Elwood adds making the series in the Atlantic ocean outpost also plays to the creative strengths of Call Me Fitz.

“No one interfered because they don’t want to get on an airplane,” she insisted.