EXCLUSIVE: ABC‘s Emmy-winning comedy series Modern Family will continue with both of its dads in place. After difficult negotiations, the show’s co-creator/executive producer/co-showrunner Christopher Lloyd, who had been without a contract since the end of last season, closed a complex new overall deal late last night with Modern Family producer 20th Century Fox TV. The series’ writers had been working on the upcoming sixth season since last Tuesday without Lloyd, who stayed home while his deal was being negotiated. He is returning to work today, joining fellow co-creator/exec producer/co-showrunner Steve Levitan. “Chris is an incredibly gifted writer who — along with Steve — has created not just a hit series but one that is already considered a classic,” 20th CEO and Chairman Gary Newman told Deadline. “It’s a testament to their dedication and commitment that six seasons in, both he and Steve are still running the series and the quality of the episodes remains at an all-time high. On a personal note, my relationship with Chris goes back a long time, and I have great respect and admiration for him. I couldn’t be happier that he is staying ‘in the family’ — both literally and figuratively.”
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Lloyd is also very well liked by the writers, cast and crew of Modern … Read More »
Writers convened yesterday to begin work on the sixth season of ABC‘s Emmy-winning comedy series Modern Family. Leading the charge was co-creator/executive producer Steve Levitan, while fellow co-creator/executive producer Christopher Lloyd was a no-show. The reason — while Levitan in March closed a rich new overall deal with Modern Family producer 20th Century Fox TV, Lloyd has no deal for the show after his most recent pact expired at the end of Season 5. Talks between Lloyd’s reps and 20th TV for a new deal did not start until after Lloyd returned from a break following the late-March wrap of Season 5. He originally had been approached by the studio at the same time as Levitan but deferred deal conversations until after he was done with the season. I hear he considered a straight show deal for Modern Family without a development component but talks eventually focused on extending his overall deal with the studio. However, when the two sides finally met face-to-face before the upfronts, they were very far apart. About a month later, there has been some progress but not significant enough, leading to Lloyd’s absence from the show. He also was out today, with conversations between his camp and 20th TV ongoing and insiders cautiously optimistic. Interestingly, Lloyd showed up at the Modern Family Emmy event last week, held by 20th TV (see photo).
Related: ABC Renews ‘Modern Family’
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Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Without revealing any plot spoilers, the first episode of Modern Family’s upcoming fifth season will take on the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in California. At tonight’s onstage “table read” of the episode for an audience of Emmy voters at Fox Studios, executive producer Steven Levitan pleaded with tweeters not to spoil any surprises while at the same time acknowledging that a plot tweet was likely to escape. (Co-creator Christopher Lloyd, who sat in the audience, already had said in interviews that the “gay marriage” issue might crop up on the Emmy-winning ABC sitcom.) And after the reading, which featured most of the cast members, the writing staff was quick to talk about how the same-sex marriage issue came to the table. Jeffrey Richman — writer of the episode, titled “Suddenly Last Summer”, which premieres September 25 — joked of the June 26 Supreme Court ruling, “I’m gay, and I was happier as a writer.” Then he added, “It was great for the gays, too.”
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview
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Veteran Christpher Lloyd has been tapped to star opposite John Leguizamo and Dustin Ybarra in ABC’s multicamera comedy pilot Only Fools And Horses. Based on the British format, the multicamera comedy chronicles the misadventures of two streetwise brothers, Del (Leguizamo) and Rodney (Ybarra), and their aging grandfather (Lloyd) as they concoct outrageous, morally questionable get-rich-quick schemes in their quest to become millionaires. Also cast in the pilot is BJ Bales (Happy Endings) as Trigger, a ghetto-talking con man who is Del and Rodney’s perpetual enemy. Lloyd is with Gersh and Freedman Management; Bales is with APA and Principato-Young,
Majandra Delfino (The Great State Of Georgia) has been cast in ABC’s single-camera pilot starring Mandy Moore and directed by Shawn Levy. The project, written by Bob Fisher and Stacy Traub, centers on newlyweds Annie (Moore) and Ben, who get the opportunity of a lifetime to run a hip, new restaurant in Annie’s hometown bringing her closer to her needy and high-maintenance family. APA-repped Delfino will play one of Annie’s sisters, who is divorced and living at home. 20th Century Fox TV is producing with Shawn Levy and Marty Adelstein’s studio-based banner. Read More »
Here’s is the Deadline/TVline assessment of 2011 Emmy comedy races:
Deadline/TVline: 2011 Comedy Series Overview
Competition for Emmy nominations among this year’s Outstanding Comedy Series contestants is no laughing matter. The showdown between two 20th Century TV hits is more intense than ever, with Modern Family and Glee. That is, if a duo of up-and-comers — Community or Parks and Recreation — don’t act as spoilers. Past Emmy stalwarts 30 Rock or The Office could resurface. Or Showtime’s bold female-skewing dramedies Nurse Jackie or newbie The Big C might seize the spotlight. CBS’ The Big Bang Theory could finally score a nod or How I Met Your Mother in its sixth season. Underdogs include ABC’s The Middle and Fox’s Raising Hope.
Deadline: Do We Need A Dramedy Category?
Deadline: ‘Modern Family’s Chris Lloyd
Deadline: ‘The Big C’s Jenny Bicks
Deadline: ‘Parks & Recreation’s Michael Schur
Deadline: ‘Community’s Dan Harmon
Deadline: ‘Nurse Jackie’s Brixius & Wallem
Deadline: 10 Comedies Pick Best Episodes
While some comedy series producers are still finalizing their selection of episodes to submit for Emmy nomination consideration, most have already chosen their best. Each series may submit 6 episodes for the Outstanding Comedy Series, as … Read More »
Christopher Lloyd is co-creator and co-showrunner with Steven Levitan (his Q&A here) of last year’s Emmy winner for Outstanding Comedy Series, Modern Family. But Lloyd didn’t go onstage to accept the accolade. This recipient of eight Emmys for his work on comedy series including Frasier and The Golden Girls prefers to stay in the shadows and let his chatty partner bask in all the public limelight. Now, Lloyd breaks his silence and talks to Deadline TV Contributor Diane Haithman for an interview one TV publicist claimed was harder to nab than “a sitdown with Osama Bin Laden”:
DEADLINE: Obviously, I first have to ask why do you rarely speak publicly about Modern Family, and why do you let Steve Levitan do all the talking about it?
LLOYD: I think Steve started out wanting to be a broadcast journalist, an on-camera guy. He likes doing things that I don’t like to do. I tend to avoid things like award shows and panels and interviews, not remotely because I feel I’m above them or wish to cultivate the image of the intriguing recluse. I’m just not very good at them. There are some comedy writers who came up on the performing side and might welcome those sorts of events. There are others to whom an auditorium full of people looks like a welter of angry torch-bearers. I have nothing against the first group but when I see members of my own tribe in public appearances sweating like murder suspects and spraying the front row with Xanax flecks, I wonder why they didn’t choose, like me, to stay home. Look, the work we do on the show gets plenty of accolades, and I get plenty of pleasure from it. But I sense from people that they get frustrated with me for not being out and about. But I guess I’m a shy boy.
DEADLINE: What’s the division of showrunning between you and Steve?
LLOYD: He goes off and talks to the camera and gets every interview, and I stay home and do all the hard work with the writing staff. (laughs) But seriously, we have a large staff of 10 writers including myself and Steve, and we can fairly easily divide the room in half: he takes four, and I take four. We generate stories separately, but that’s early on in the process. Once we get on track, we confer with one another and feel free to intermingle the groups. A lot of the work with the actors we do separately because we each take every other episode and see it through to the end. We have a five-day shooting schedule, 10 hours Monday through Friday, all the way through the season. That’s one of the more fun aspects of the job. It would be overkill to have both of us onstage. Plus, if we did that, I don’t know what would be happening with the writers back in the room. Given that we have slightly different styles, it’s a good system.
DEADLINE: What does an Emmy mean to a show that’s already successful?
LLOYD: It’s wonderful acknowledgment of what you’ve done. What comes with that is a challenge not to repeat yourself, and to keep the show good, and maybe even to make it better. Continuing recognition says you’ve done that job. No one wants to be in charge when the show starts to slide and people say: ‘Meh, it’s seen better days.’ But then there are those shows that go away and come back. Everybody Loves Raymond was in that category. And I think Cheers. I’m not an Emmy historian, but there is some fun andsome challenge in a show being thought of as on top, then a little passé or whatever, and then comes back and proves everybody wrong. Read More »
Christopher Lloyd has been tapped for the last lead role in NBC’s untitled Dan Goor comedy. The multicamera centers on Dr. Adam Foote (Andrew J. West), who leaves a broken relationship and a job as hospital administrator in Boston to come home to Maryland and join the family practice, which includes his doting mom, Dr. Barbara Foote (Jean Smart), his father, Dr. George Foote (Jere Burns), and his grandfather, Dr. Robert Foote (Lloyd). Also cast in the pilot in guest starring/recurring roles are Octavia Spencer, Courtney Henggeler, Eddie Pepitone and Fahim Anwar, who is repped by Principato-Young. Gersh-repped Lloyd recently appeared on Fox’s Fringe.
Burt Reynolds is set to co-star opposite LeAnne Rimes in the CMT movie Reel Love, one of the first two films to come out of the newly created CMT Original Movies division, which will produce TV movies with a focus on romantic comedies and music-based films. Reel Love stars Rimes as Holly, a successful big-city girl who returns to her small-town roots after a family emergency. She then embarks on a soulful, comedic journey to reconnect with family and friends and find meaningful romance along the way. Reynold will play Holly’s father, a grizzled ex-Army, ex-cop, ex-trucker. The movie is set to begin production in late April in Ontario and will premiere in September. Reynolds, repped by KLWG and APA, will next be seen … Read More »
Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan looked like a single dad tonight, accepting alone the show’s awards for Best Comedy Series and Best Writing for a Comedy Series. Where was fellow co-creator Christopher Lloyd, the executive producer who co-wrote the pilot that won the writing award? ”He has an aversion to crowds and public speaking, but he supports the show and we will celebrate at the Governors Ball,” Levitan said backstage. UPDATE: Lloyd indeed was on the party circuit. I caught up with him at the Fox and FX’s shindig in Downtown. “I just don’t like going to awards shows,” he said in explaining why he’d skipped the ceremony. Levitan gave a shoutout to 30 Rock, which Modern Family dethroned this year. Noting that instead of female celebrities like Paris Hilton, “you need a role model make Tina (Fey). It’s still a damn funny show, and we feel lucky to be here.” There are no hard feelings between Levitan and Glee creator Ryan Murphy, either. “I saw Ryan afterwords, and we hugged,” Levitan said. “I really admire the fact that Glee has broken the mold. My daughter went to a Glee concert, and I think there is room for both shows.”
Asked why Modern Family has so clicked with audiences, Levitan said: “The show has embraced emotion. I think emotion in comedy has gone out of vogue, and maybe people were hungry for it a little bit. They wanted to laugh but they also wanted to feel something.”