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Two Chicago comedy success stories team up

A couple of comedy world success stories — with strong Chicago roots — are joining forces to create a TV sitcom, already given a pilot production commitment by CBS. reports top television comedy director Jason Winer (“Modern Family”) and well-regarded comedy writer Kay Cannon (“Pitch Perfect”) will team up on “The Runt.” The proposed show is about a group of five adult siblings — seen from the viewpoint of the family “runt.”

Ironically, the title character is now the most successful member of the family — but, despite her best efforts, cannot escape those family dynamics and opinions, established in childhood.

“The Runt” is being produced by 20th Century Fox, where both Winer and Cannon are under contract.

“Kay and I have similar comedy DNA,” Winer told — pointing out she is a Chicago native and he attended college here. Plus they both have ties to iO Theatre and Second City.

This is the first time the duo are working together on a TV project — though they had tried to do something earlier. Previously, “the business gods didn’t smile at us,” said Winer, who explained the idea from the show comes from Cannon’s own life.

“She is from a family of seven brothers and sisters and is the self-described run, the smallest and scrappiest and always the butt of the jokes,” added Winer, who said he understands a lot of this, given his diminutive stature.

The title character of “The Runt” will be an attorney who represents clients in class action lawsuits, “always fighting for the weak against the strong,” said Winer.

Cannon’s resume includes her current role as co-executive producer of the Fox hit sitcom, “New Girl.” She spent six years working on NBC’s “30 Rock,” and her first produced big screen script — “Pitch Perfect” — became a surprise hit starring Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson.

Along with his “Modern Family” credentials, Winer is executive producer/director of the new CBS comedy “The Crazy Ones,” starring Robin Williams.