20th Century Fox Television first approached playwright Elizabeth Meriwether in 2008 to develop a pilot that was eventually shelved. After Meriwether's success with the 2011 romantic comedy film No Strings Attached, 20th Century Fox approached her once more, and she pitched an idea for a TV sitcom about an "offbeat girl moving in with three single guys", inspired by her experience of "bouncing from Craigslist sublet to Craigslist sublet, for four years in L. A. " when she was in her twenties. This show was initially called Chicks and Dicks, and two of the characters were already similar to the final characters of Jess and Schmidt. The initial idea was a Will & Grace-style comedy inspired by Meriwether's close friendship with a guy after their exes started dating each other. The FOX network liked the script and pursued Zooey Deschanel for the role of Jess, to whose story Meriwether felt most connected. As the script developed, the plot moved on from being about the sexual endeavors of the roommates and became more socially oriented, so the title was changed to New Girl.