EXCLUSIVE: Universal Television has secured another key member of departing 30 Rock. Series executive producer Jack Burditt has signed a two-year overall deal with the studio behind the Emmy-winning NBC comedy, which ends its seven-season run January 31. Burditt joins 30 Rock creator/star/executive producer Tina Fey and star/producer Alec Baldwin, who also recently signed deals with Universal TV to remain at the studio following 30 Rock‘s end. “We are thrilled to continue our relationship at the studio with Jack after his invaluable contribution to 30 Rock,” Uni TV’s EVP Bela Bajaria said. “He’s a great showrunner and is a welcome addition to our roster.”
Last Man Standing creator Jack Burditt is leaving the freshman ABC comedy series. Veteran comedy showrunner Kevin Abbott is expected to take over the reins of the show after Thanksgiving if he gets a sign-off from TV Land, where he is under contract. For 20th Century Fox TV, which produces Last Man Standing, Abbott was the top choice to replace Burditt as he successfully stepped in for the departing creator of another 20th TV comedy, Reba, several years ago. Coincidentally, Abbott is now writing a new comedy project starring Reba McEntire, which has a put pilot commitment at ABC. If it goes to series and Last Man Standing is renewed for a second season, Abbott will run both series concurrently. In addition to shepherding the McEntire-starring project Malibu Country, Abbott also has a deal with TV Land, where serves as a consulting producer on Retired At 35. He is now in the process of getting out of his contract at the cable network to join Last Man Standing. Burditt, on whose life Last Man Standing is based, suffered a family tragedy earlier this fall. He took an extended leave of absence, and when he eventually returned on the show, he felt he couldn’t stay on for the long haul.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
Tim Allen was talking trash and slinging jokes at today’s TCA panel on the new sitcom from Jack Burditt (30 Rock) Last Man Standing. The show marks Allen’s return to ABC after his hit show about a manly man, Home Improvement (1991-99).
A lot has changed since then. “I believe that at HI we were doing a 28 share, sometimes into a 30 share, with 30 million viewers,” Allen recalled. “We could tell the president what to do at that time.” It’s a “tighter leadership” now at ABC, he added. “I don’t want to say cheaper but I just did. Sometimes leaner is better. In this case, it’s not. We drink water out of a hose. There are no water bottles at ABC.”
After Home Improvement, Allen cracked that he had received “thousands, hundreds, no, millions of offers” for new series. “Every day it was an offer. I had an ‘offer office.’ ” He said that he would have liked to do a legal drama: “I like Castle, but that was already done,” he said. He said he had an offer for a legal series but added “I’m not going to tell you, it’s too embarrassing. It’s on the air now, and they cast a woman in the part,” a hint pointing to Harry’s Law ,whose lead was originally conceived as a man. Other Last Man cast members joked that the series was actually ABC’s reboot of Charlie’s Angels. “Yes, I was the middle one. I’m very attractive in a halter,” Allen joked. Asked why all men on TV these days seem to be “douche bags,” Allen replied: “That was the working title for this show actually … but Fox got it … they have a lot of douche bags, actually.”
ABC is really manning up this pilot season. After greenlighting Chris Moynihan’s comedy pilot Man Up earlier this month, the network has just picked up another project by that name, this one from writer-producer Jack Burditt (30 Rock), which …