EXCLUSIVE: As the CW’s sophomore drama Life Unexpected is heading to its season and likely series finale on Jan. 18, the series’ creator/executive producer Liz Tigelaar is ready to move on, signing an overall deal with ABC Studios. The seven-figure, two-year pact, which has an option for a third year, starts in June when Tigelaar’s overall deal with LUX producer CBS TV Studios expires. Under the new deal, Tigelaar will develop new series and may join existing ABC Studios shows. The pact marks a homecoming for Tigelaar who worked on a number of ABC/ABC Studios series, including What About Brian?, Dirty Sexy Money, and Brothers and Sisters before she created her first show, LUX, also for ABC Studios. When the project, which had been lingering in development for a couple of years, was finally picked up by the CW, ABC Studios pulled out for financial reasons. CW sister studio CBS Studios then stepped in, taking over the show and signing Tigelaar in an overall deal. Since its launch last midseason, LUX has garnered critical praise and strong cult following. But its ratings never took off, and the CW in early November opted not to give it a back order, effectively sealing its fate. LUX star Kristoffer Polaha has already signed a talent holding deal with CBS and CBS Studios for a new project eyed for next fall. Tigelaar, who considers herself to be from Greg Berlanti’s school of showrunning, started off as an intern on Dawson’s Creek where Berlanti got his start as a showrunner. WME-repped Tigelaar then landed a job as a writer’s assistant on American Dreams, which led to her first staff writer job on the NBC period musical drama.
EXCLUSIVE: Following her brief stint as head of programming for OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, Jamila Hunter is returning to the broadcast side as VP comedy development for ABC. Meanwhile, Tracy Underwood has joined ABC Studios as VP drama development. Hunter will report to ABC SVP comedy Samie Kim Falvey; Underwood to ABC Studios SVP drama Patrick Moran. The hires appear to be a result from the restructuring to restore the network and the studio’s current departments, which ABC started just before president Steve McPherson’s sudden departure. ABC’s VP comedy Lynn Barrie was tapped to lead the network’s current department, and ABC Studios’ VP drama Stephanie Leifer took over current at the studio, creating vacancies in the 2 development departments.