United States of Tara: Spielberg' TV Series Penned by Diablo Cody

June 4, 2008–Showtime will produce and air “The United States of Tara,” Spielberg's series. Based on an original idea by Spielberg, the show revolves around an ordinary-seeming wife and mother who suffers from dissociative identity (multiple personality) disorder. Diablo Cody (“Juno”) has penned the half-hour single-camera comedy.

Toni Collette will star as Tara, while John Corbett plays her husband, Max. Cast also includes Portia Doubleday and Keir Gilchrist. Craig Gillespie directed the pilot.

Cody will exec produce and work closely with sitcom vet Alexa Junge. DreamWorks TV toppers Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank are exec producers as well, along with Spielberg, marking the first time he's officially put his name on a TV series in 13 years since “SeaQuest DSV.” He exec-produced the 2002 Sci-Fi Channel limited series “Taken.”

“It was a great idea, thanks to Spielberg, and we had a great writer who we were lucky to get into business with before she did anything else,” said Showtime entertainment prexy Bob Greenblatt. “The pilot in its sensibility and tone reminds me of the pilot for 'Weeds,' in the sense that it's audacious and there's that same combo of heavy stuff going on with the family, yet it's real.”

“Tara” focuses on how the family, including the main character's husband and two teenage children, copes with her various personalities.

Showtime picked up 12 segs of “Tara,” which will start shooting this summer. Cody has already written the next two episodes beyond the pilot and will likely end up penning half of the season's segs, Greenblatt said. The network had already ordered several scripts, allowing the writers to map out the season.