Jamie Widdoes, a director of CBS’ hit sitcom Two and a Half Men, is returning to his hometown of Pittsburgh to produce an as-yet untitled WQED talk show about female empowerment and girls’ self-esteem beginning in December 2011, the station announced Thursday (Sept. 22). It’s the first program of the new Pittsburgh Innovative Media Incubator, a co-venture between WQED and the Steeltown Entertainment Project, a local nonprofit advocating to make the region an entertainment production center. The incubator is funded by a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.
The show will also be offered in syndication to broadcasters such as the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The program can trace its roots to the 2003 Steeltown Entertainment Project summit at WQED and the Andy Warhol Museum, where local creative and civic leaders discussed strategies to attract major film and television productions to the area. Pittsburgh expats participating in the summit included Widdoes, director Rob Marshall (Chicago), manager Eric Gold (Jim Carrey, Ellen DeGeneres), producer Bernie Goldmann (300), and television series creator Terri Minsky (Lizzie McGuire).
“It’s been a dream of mine for many years to come home and produce in Pittsburgh,” Widdoes said in a statement. “I can’t think of a better place for a project like this. From the moment I was on the [WQED] set of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, I’ve wanted to do something in that studio.”