20th Century Fox Television has inked a pod deal with Rough House Pictures. Under the one-year pact, Rough House principals David Gordon Green, Jody Hill, Danny McBride and head Matt Reilly will develop animated and live-action comedies targeted for broadcast networks. This marks the first network TV deal for the company. Hill and McBride co-created the HBO live-action comedy series Eastbound & Down, now in production on its third season, and Green created the upcoming MTV animated comedy series Good Vibes. Additionally, Rough House is producing the Comedy Central comedy pilot Black Jack starring Ving Rhames. “We as a studio are always looking to be in business with people who we think have unique and specific voices, and the group from Rough House have that,” 20th TV chairman Gary Newman said. On the feature side, Pineapple Express helmer Green is directing the forthcoming Jonah Hill comedy The Sitter for 20th Century Fox Studios.
EXCLUSIVE: Despite crossing over to features in a big way recently, Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol co-writers Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec are also staying in touch with their TV roots through a pod deal at 20th Century Fox TV’s cable and reality division Fox21. Under the one-year pact, the two will write, supervise and produce projects targeted for cable. Fox21 president Bert Salke, who took the reins of the division exactly a year ago, said that the deal is indicative of his talent strategy. “We’re going to change the types of people we work with and the types of deals we make,” he said. That would often mean writers like Appelbaum and Nemec “that any network would want.” As for Fox21′s deals themselves, while they understandably pay less than network pacts, they are also far less restrictive than the exclusive broadcast deals. “I think that will be the future,” Salke said. For instance, Appelbaum and Nemec’s deal is exclusive in cable, but the two are free to shop broadcast projects on their own. And cable’s year-round development model allows writers who are busy in features like Appelbaum and Nemec the flexibility to pitch whenever they have time. Additionally, “the lines between broadcast and cable are really blurred now,” Salke said, pointing to 20th TV-based producer Ryan Murphy who has both a broadcast series, Fox’s Glee, and a cable one, FX’s upcoming American Horror Story. At Fox21, which produces FX’s Sons of Anarchy, A&E’s Breakout Kings and Showtime’s upcoming Homeland, Salke said he is in a roster-building mode, signing “tons of writer deals.”
In Universal Media Studios’ first major pod deal under new NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt, the studio has signed a three-year overall pact with former Brillstein Entertainment Partners President of Television Peter Traugott. The agreement had been in the works for the past couple of weeks. Traugott will develop and produce scripted comedy and drama series for NBC and other networks through a newly launched production company. Joining him in the new company will be another senor BEP TV executive, EVP Rachel Kaplan. I hear Traugott, who worked with Greenblatt at Fox years ago, was the first producer Greenblatt and his new top lieutenant Jennifer Nicholson Salke approached about joining the studio. “Peter is a widely respected and successful executive and producer with a savvy instinct for exceptional television,” said Greenblatt. “I’m thrilled that he wanted to join our re-emerging studio at NBC.”
Traugott called leaving Brillstein “a very tough decision.” “I’ve been here 15 years and they have become like a second family to me,” he said. “But the chance to work with Bob and his team at NBC, and be a part of what they’re building, was too good an opportunity to pass up.” Brillstein just signed a new two-year deal with ABC Studios and tapped JoAnn Alfano as the company’s new President of Television.