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« on: February 24, 2006, 01:10:31 AM »

Sitcom aims at laughs with Christian theme
Fishers resident writes screenplay, hopes to market TV show to small Christian network in Midwest.
 
Ryan.Heath@Topics.com
February 23, 2006
 
   

FISHERS -- In a TV landscape dominated by reality shows and comedies with questionable morals, Fishers resident Abbie Stancato wants to cut through the noise and deliver a wholesome message with a healthy dose of laughter.

That's why the 43-year-old Fishers resident wrote a screenplay for his Christian-themed sitcom "Piece of Soul." It's about a family who's trying to adopt two children but accidentally buys an annoying comedian on the Internet.

"It's hard to make religion funny, so I'm not trying to make religion funny. I'm trying to make people who are religious funny," Stancato said. "You don't want to ram it down people's throats. If I can put some humor with it and get a message across, that's why it was done."

Recent TV shows like "The Book of Daniel" -- which Stancato called a "train wreck" -- have missed the mark entirely, he said, and he hopes to fill a need for quality Christian programming.

"I can't imagine for a moment that a large network would take this (his sitcom) on," he said. "That's why I was so surprised they took on 'The Book of Daniel.' I don't think this is mainstream at all, but I do think there's a niche out there. I think there's a lot more conservative people out there than people think."

Marital problems led Stancato and his wife Diana to Christianity about 18 months ago, he said, and he understands how annoying it can be when someone tries to push religious beliefs on others. His screenplay focuses more on creating funny characters that regular people can relate to rather than producing a show that comes off overly preachy.

Fishers attorney Cindy Fazioli, who attends Promise Church in Fishers with the Stancatos, helped co-write the script along with several other volunteers. She's confident Stancato will get his project off the ground.

"He's one of the people where if he says he's going to do something, he's going to do it," Fazioli said. "I give Abbie an incredible amount of credit for being ready and being willing to step up and do this."

Fazioli, 46, learned about the project from a flyer in the church. She had been looking for a volunteer project and the sitcom seemed right up her alley, she said.

"As an attorney I write a lot, but nothing like that," she said of contributing to the screenplay. "It was a stretch for me."

Stancato works as an engineer for Indianapolis-based MicroMetal and spends his free time playing in the praise band at the church. He hopes to market the sitcom this spring to small Christian networks in the Midwest.

He's also worked in cable television in Miami, Fla., and as a TV show host for South Florida Rock and Roll Showcase, which catered to unsigned rock bands. In Indianapolis, he hosted a radio show that focused on technology in society.

"I think that this sitcom is very different than anything else out there," Stancato said. "I'm hopeful that if I can get someone to read it, they'll see that and want to put up the money to do this."

Sitcom aims at laughs with Christian theme
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