After spending the last seven years focused solely on features, comedy writers-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are returning to television with a three-year pod deal at 20th Century Fox TV. Under the pact, made in a competitive situation, the duo, who have background in both live-action and animated comedy, will develop live action and animation series for network and cable under their Lord Miller banner. They will write and direct their own projects and also supervise other writers. With the deal, Lord and Miller are picking up where they left off in TV, reuniting with the studio where they were based just before leaving for features, working on 20th TV series How I Met Your Mother and Jake In Progress and pilots Awesometown, untitled Phil Hendrie, and Luis. “They’ve really grown up,” 20th TV chairman Gary Newman said. “We used to think of them as young guys with wildly inventive ideas. They still have wild ideas but now they also have the experience, maturity and relationships to find ways to have them mounted.” READ MORE »
EXCLUSIVE: After making a successful expansion into television, feature writer Chris Morgan is setting up TV shop. Morgan is launching a TV offshoot of his Chris Morgan Prods., which will be housed at 20th Century Fox TV with a two-year pod deal. Under the pact, Morgan will write and produce new series for the studio, as well as supervise other writers and develop projects for all networks.
Morgan, writer of the hit Fast And Furious movie franchise, first tested the TV waters this development season when he sold a few projects, two of which, Gang Related at Fox and Big Thunder at ABC, went to pilot. What’s more, both pilots have been garnering strong early buzz and appear strong contenders for series orders. Morgan wrote and executive produces Gang Related and co-wrote the story and executive produces Big Thunder. He has been in first position on Gang Related, which is produced by 20th Century Fox TV. The pilot was directed by Allen Hughes and stars Ramon Rodriguez, Terry O’Quinn and RZA.
After such a “fast & furious” start in TV, Morgan was pursued by multiple TV studios for a deal but opted to go with 20th TV because of what he said was “an amazing experience” with the studio’s executives during the development and production of Gang Related. “I have big goals in television, and I look forward to achieving them with the studio as my creative partner,” Morgan added.
Stephanie Herman has been promoted to VP Casting at 20th Century Fox TV. She reports to EVP Talent and Casting Sharon Klein. “Stephanie’s rise at the studio has been meteoric, and deservedly so,” Klein said. “She is so creative and smart, and she’s unbelievably wise beyond her years.” Herman joined the studio in 2006 directly upon graduating from UC Davis. She started off as as an assistant and rose through the ranks from coordinator to manager to director and now VP.
Popular 2004 Televisa telenovela Rubí is getting an English-language adaptation via Fox. The network has put in development an hourlong series based on the telenovela. Written by Lisa Loomer, it centers on a beautiful but poor woman who will do anything to make her dream a reality and become rich – she will even give up the greatest love of her life. 20th Century Fox TV and Televisa are producing the project, executive produced by Loomer and Michael Garcia. The telenovela was a monster ratings hit when aired in the US on Univision from September 2004 to March 2005, with its two-hour finale drawing nearly 8 million viewers.
Jason Winer, who directed the pilots for such 20th Century Fox TV comedy series as Modern Family, Don’t Trust The B—- and the upcoming 1600 Penn, is extending and expanding his relationship with the studio. Winer has signed a new three-year deal with 20th TV. Under the pact, he will continue to serve as executive producer and producing director of NBC’s 1600 Penn, which was just slotted for a January 10 launch on Thursday night. He also will continue to develop new projects for the studio, now through his own production company, Small Dog Picture Co., which he is launching under the new deal. “We made this deal with with the intention of building a production company for him here at 20th TV to take all those great relationships he has established with writers, actors and other directors and catapult him to next level,” said 20th TV chairman Dana Walden.
EXCLUSIVE: America’s Next Top Model co-developer/executive producer Ken Mok is staying in the fashion world with a scripted project, a drama for Fox. Titled Scarlatti, the project written by Marjorie David (90210), centers on a multi-generational dynasty struggling for …
Felicity co-creator Matt Reeves is returning to television with an overall deal at 20th Century Fox TV. Under the pact, Reeves is expected to create, write and direct broadcast and cable projects as well as supervise other writers. Reeves was a feature writer-director (The Pallbearer) when he teamed with J.J. Abrams to co-create Felicity, which helped put the WB on the map. Since the end of the series in 2002, he has only directed two drama pilots — ABC’s Miracles and NBC’s Dick Wolf series Conviction – focusing his attention on features including directing the Abrams-produced sleeper hit Cloverfield and writing and directing Let Me In.
Cuban-born musician/music producer Emilio Estefan has signed a development deal with 20th Century Fox Television. Under the pact, Estefan will shepherd his first drama series for network television. He already is meeting with writers for the project, a Latino-themed series which he will executive produce. The pitch is expected to be taken out to the networks this fall. “Reaching out to all audiences, including the Latino audience, is a critical priority for this studio as we look for that next big international hit,” 20th TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman said. “Emilio has a vision for a dramatic series that combines great storytelling with an authenticity in terms of Latino culture that we think every network will want on their schedule.”
During his career, Estefan created the Miami Sound Machine and has shepherded the careers of Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Ricky Martin, Jon Secada and his wife Gloria Estefan, among others. After crossing over so many Latin singers into the mainstream, Estefan is ready to do the same with a Latino-themed series. “I think this is the perfect time to do it,” he said, noting that Hispanics are the largest and fastest growing minority in the U.S. Years ago, he shopped a script for Beauty Parlor, a series he said was in the vein of Modern Family, which is produced by 20th TV. Back then, he was told the American TV audiences were not ready for a Latino family. Now he believes they are.