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'30 Rock' Star Shopping Pilot for Sitcom about Bronx Comic Shop

By Eddie Small | July 7, 2015 3:54pm
 Grizz Chapman (center), seen here with fellow
Grizz Chapman (center), seen here with fellow "30 Rock" actors John Lutz (L) and Judah Friedlander (R), has shot the pilot episode of a show about a comic book store in The Bronx.
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Frederick M. Brown/Stringer

MORRIS PARK — Former "30 Rock" star Grizz Chapman is shopping around a sitcom pilot based on his experience as the owner of a Bronx comic book shop.

Chapman, who played one of Tracy Morgan’s bodyguards and had a tumultuous romantic relationship with Tina Fey's character Liz Lemon on the critically acclaimed show, has shot the first episode of the sitcom based on The Lair, a comic book and collectibles shop on Colden Avenue in The Bronx where he is part owner.

He's now in talks with a production company about whether or not it wants to finance the series.

“They'll make their decision, and then I’ll go from there,” he said. “They have a couple of projects, so basically I’m just waiting in line.”

Chapman came up with the idea for the sitcom after he became part owner of The Lair about two years ago. He got involved with the store through his old friend Jorge Rodriguez, who opened the store in 2005.

He enjoyed the amount of laughs he tended to have while at the store, as well as the interesting people who would stop by, and compared his idea to the CBS hit "The Big Bang Theory," only with a more diverse perspective regarding what comic book fans are like.

"I want to give a little edgier side of people who love comics," he said. "Like, there are ordinary people in The Bronx that love comic books."

Rodriguez said he has been thrilled with the development process so far and was very excited that his business had become the inspiration for a television show, even though its fate is still uncertain.

"Even if we only get to air three to six episodes, it’s an honor that my little comic shop from The Bronx got inspired to do a three to six episode arc on TV," he said. "It’s just an incredible feeling."

Although Chapman has finished the pilot episode of the show, he said he did not want to provide too many specifics about the plot, given that he is still trying to figure out the future of the series.

“It’s ready to go, but I just haven’t put it up,” he said. “I don’t want it to be out and seen yet.”

Chapman said he hopes to hear a decision from the production company about whether or not it wants to finance and move forward with the series within a few weeks. If the company declines, he will continue to shop it around.

“I’m just giving them the opportunity to say yes or no,” he said. “I don’t want to burn any bridges.”

If the show does not work out for TV, Rodriguez said they would plan to post it on the Internet, where he predicted it would do very well.

"If nothing works out, we’ll throw it online," he said, "and I’m pretty sure online we’ll get a nice following."