A proposed sitcom finds comedy in terrorism. The pitch generates big buzz -- but networks decide to pass

Who says terrorism can’t be funny? Certainly not comedy scribes Mark F. Wilding and Mark Jordan Legan, who generated big buzz by writing a sitcom script called The Cell about an Arab terrorist group that reneges on plans to destroy parts of Chicago. ”The joke was that they come to love America,” explains Wilding, whose amiable characters included a guy named Abu who loves to bowl. ”It was a valentine to the United States!”

The Cell script, written last summer, was widely circulated among Hollywood insiders in the recent development season. The sitcom was ultimately rejected by the nets because ”nobody’s going to want to sink $15 million to $20 million in a script should a terrorist blow up a cruise ship or something in real life,” admits Wilding. But it did open doors for the writers, who now have a sitcom and a movie in the works at two different studios (Wilding also writes for ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy). ”Maybe it’s because of the culture of fear,” he said about the script’s positive response. ”Maybe people don’t want to live with that all the time.”

The Cell
  • Movie
  • 107 minutes