Steve Levitan Inks New Deal With 20th TV, Talks ‘Modern Family’ End Game, Potential Spinoffs & Anne Sweeney’s Career Change

By | Tuesday March 18, 2014 @ 9:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Steve Levitan Modern Family ContractUPDATED: Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan is staying with his TV family, signing a new four-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV, the studio behind the Emmy-winning ABC comedy series where he has been for over a decade. Under the rich pact, Levitan will continue as executive producer/co-showrunner on Modern Family, which he has been co-running alongside fellow co-creator Christopher Lloyd. (Lloyd has no deal for the series beyond this season and is not pursuing an overall or new show deal at the moment.) Additionally, “I will be keeping an eye open for interesting projects to shepherd and will be looking for well-written pilots to direct,” said Levitan, who won a directing Emmy for Modern Family in 2012. Levitan also is contemplating writing a new show, either by himself or with a partner, during the hiatus from Modern Family. “I have a couple that I’ll pursue as soon as I have enough time off to feel bored — if that ever happens.” All that would be welcomed by 20th brass, led by co-chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman. “Steve’s been at this studio almost as long as I have, and he’s still as passionate about the process of making TV as the day I met him,” Walden said. “Of course, he’ll continue to work with Chris on Modern Family, but we intend to take advantage of his talents every way we can, whether it’s directing pilots or supervising writers or creating another hit series of his own.”

20thTVLevitan said he didn’t look elsewhere before re-signing with 2oth TV, where he knows virtually everyone. “They’ve been very kind to me,” Levitan said. “Gary & Dana are the Jay Z & Beyonce of television executives. They are good friends and I feel like I have a home here.” But probably the biggest draw for Levitan, who previously created NBC comedy Just Shoot Me, was the opportunity to stay with Modern Family. “A wise friend once told me, ‘Hollywood is 10,000 people running to the spot where lightning just struck,’ he said. “I was lucky enough to be there when it did — I see no reason to run away from it.” Past experience and regrets also factored into his decision. “I left Just Shoot Me too early and I really didn’t want to make that mistake twice,” he said. “It’s important to me that Modern Family maintains its quality and that it finishes strong, and I want to be part of that.” Read More »

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Steve Levitan, Damon Lindelof, Tim Kring & Anthony Zuiker On Pilot Season, Network Notes, Agents, Ratings And Nikki Finke

By | Thursday February 7, 2013 @ 10:46pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Here are four top series creators — Modern Family and Just Shoot Me‘s Steve Levitan, Lost‘s Damon Lindelof, CSI‘s Anthony Zuiker and Heroes, Crossing Jordan and Touch‘s Tim Kring — sharing what they really think about pilot season, network notes, agents, Nielsen ratings as well as Nikki Finke and Deadline. … Read More »

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Dan Harmon & Steve Levitan React To ‘Community’s Critics Choice Win

By | Tuesday June 19, 2012 @ 8:32am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Community Critics Choice TV AwardsCommunity creator and recently ousted showrunner Dan Harmon took to Twitter to react to the show’s surprise best comedy series win at last night Critics Choice TV Awards and indicated that he … Read More »

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Fox Passes On ‘Rebounding’: Will Steve Levitan Ever Again Sell A Show There?

By | Wednesday May 9, 2012 @ 7:40pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The highest-profile casualty at Fox, which picked up three new comedy series today and passed on everything else, was the Steve Levitan-produced pilot Rebounding. The single-camera project was written on spec by Joe Port and Joe Wiseman … Read More »

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Steve Levitan Won’t Do ‘Modern Family’ On Cable, Touts Show’s Impact On Gay Teens

By | Wednesday March 14, 2012 @ 10:24pm PDT

Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.

In a fun PaleyFest finale tonight, Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan declared that even if he had the chance, he wouldn’t switch from the grueling 24-episode-per-season broadcast schedule at ABC to the far less … Read More »

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Steve Levitan-Produced Port-Wiseman Spec Gets Pilot Order At Fox, Jason Winer Directs

By | Friday February 3, 2012 @ 6:18pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Steve Levitan is back at Fox. The network has picked up Rebounding, a single-camera comedy from the Modern Family co-creator, Joe Port and Joe Wiseman, with Modern Family helmer Jason … Read More »

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Steve Levitan, Joe Port And Joe Wiseman Take Out ‘Rebounding’ TV Comedy Spec

By | Monday January 30, 2012 @ 11:19am PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Let the bidding frenzy begin! A mostly sleepy January TV spec market is being shaken up today by Rebounding, a single-camera comedy from Joe Port, Joe Wiseman and Modern Family co-creator Steve Levitan. Port and … Read More »

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Obama Singles Out Hollywood “Influencers” For Presidential Face Time

Harvey Weinstein, TV producer Steve Levitan, ICM’s Chris Silbermann, UTA’s Rob Prinz, manager-producer Jason Weinberg and talent managers Eric Ortner, Greg Mertz, Bruce Flohr, Michael Green, Steve Moir and Bill Silva were among Hollywood figures invited to meet with President Obama on Tuesday before he left for San Francisco. These … Read More »

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Backstage At The Emmys: Martin Scorsese, Kate Winslet, Melissa McCarthy And More

Emmys Live-Blog; Emmys By The Numbers; Emmy Analysis: Broadcast TV’s Big Awards Comeback; Red Carpet Executive Arrivals

Deadline’s Diane Haithman and Ray Richmond were backstage at the Primetime Emmy Awards tonight to hear what the winners had to say.

Julie Bowen and Ty Burrell came backstage together after winning the awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. The Modern Family stars were asked first about being part of a show that is breaking ground for gays. Burrell said, “I don’t know, in terms of America, it feels very, very good to be on a show that seems like it’s slowly changing a lot of minds. Eric [Stonestreet] and Jesse [Tyler Ferguson] deserve all of the credit for that, and our amazing showrunners. It’s a great thing to just peripherally go to events and just basically start to talk about those characters like any other characters, relating to their life — it’s pretty cool.” Bowen joked, “As a straight woman, and part of a straight couple on the show, I feel marginalized.” On a more serious note, she added: “It’s absurd that it’s even an issue, but where it’s an issue, I’m glad that we are part of helping change minds.” Using the word “straight” in a different context, Burrell praised Bowen: “It’s even greater credit to what Julie does that the straight-person wins an Emmy, I don’t think that happens very often. In a couple there’s usually a straight-man and a wilder character. It’s due to her resourcefulness as an actor.” On going back to the set with an Emmy when other cast members were also nominated, Burrell said: “Eric won last year, and Ed [O'Neill] actually just said something really sweet right before the award, ‘whoever wins deserves it.’ I feel like we’re trying to enjoy this moment more than anything — we know this doesn’t last forever; we’re having a lot of fun.” Bowen said about her surprise win, “I kinda thought it was a lock on Betty White. If I didn’t have a dog in this fight, and I had two, I would have voted for Betty White. Claire is not necessarily fall-down funny every time.” She credits the writers for having found ways to make her character have many dimensions and “not just be the mom.” …

Later, Steve Levitan and Jeffrey Richman, winners for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series, were asked how it feels for Modern Family to be sweeping the awards so far, with wins in every category they’ve been eligible for. Levitan: “We’re beyond thrilled with the way things have gone, obviously. It’s an embarrassment of riches, and from the bottom of our hearts we feel that Ty Burrell and Julie Bowen deserved to win. (Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series winner) Michael Alan Spiller, not so much. To tell you the truth, it’s a little surreal.” They were then asked what they did to ramp up the stories and quality of Modern Family in Season 2. Levitan: “We feel like we know the characters a little bit better this year. There was such dedication this year to keeping the quality up. We all live in fear of the quality dipping so we work extra hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. … I’ll also tell you that our kids are the unsung heroes of the show. What they do on this show is amazing. We ask them to do such complicated turns and they nail it constantly. They’re playing at the same level as the adults and that’s a rare thing.” … Read More »

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EMMYS: Nominated Writers Talk About Craft

By | Tuesday September 13, 2011 @ 11:29pm PDT

Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.

When a comedy writer moderates a WGA panel of his peers, the audience is bound to get more jokes than straight answers. That’s what happened tonight at this year’s ‘Primetime Sublime’ panel featuring Emmy-nominated writers moderated by … Read More »

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EMMYS: Louis C.K. & Lonely Island Duo Top List Of Multiple Nominees, More Notes

Nellie Andreeva

His eponymous FX comedy may have been snubbed in the best comedy series category, but comedian Louis C.K. still managed to become the most nominated person at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards with four noms, sharing the honors with The Lonely Island’s Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. Louis C.K. was nominated in the lead comedy actor category for his role on FX’s Louie, in the writing for comedy series category for penning the Poker/Divorce episode of the show, as well as in two Variety, Music or Comedy special categories for his Epix comedy special Louis C.K.: Hilarious — for writing and for editing. Three of Schaffer and Taccone’s four nominations were in the Original Music and Lyrics category, in which The Lonely Island’s Schaffer, Taccone and Andy Samberg have a regular presence, often in tandem with Justin Timberlake, having won an Emmy together for Dick In a Box. This year, Saturday Night Live is completely dominating the category with four of the six nominations: three for Schaffer, Taccone and Samberg’s digital music videos I Just Have Sex, Jack Sparrow and their latest collaboration with Timberlake, 3-Way, and one for the song from host Timberlake’s opening monologue. Schaffer and Taccone’s fourth Emmy nomination is in the writing for VMC series category for their staff-writing duties on SNL. Read More »

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Dana Walden & Gary Newman’s ‘Glee’-ful Holiday Card Helmed By Ryan Murphy

By | Friday December 17, 2010 @ 3:17pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

After 20th TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman’s uproarious Modern Family-flavored holiday video card last year written and directed by Steve Levitan, it was natural for the duo to turn to the studio’s other monster hit, Fox’s Glee, for greeting card inspiration next. Here is this year’s video, … Read More »

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‘Modern Family’ Duo Sign Overall Deal

By | Sunday October 10, 2010 @ 8:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

20th Century Fox TV has locked in 2 key Modern Family writer-producers, co-executive producers Paul Corrigan and Brad Walsh, with a two-year overall deal. The pact will keep them on Modern Family as well as allow them to develop new projects. The duo has written 6 episodes of the sophomore ABC comedy so far, including last week’s Earthquake episode. They also recently shared Modern Family‘s best comedy series Emmy award with the rest of the show’s producing team led by co-creators/executive producer Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd. (Levitan and Lloyd’s own new overall deals with 20th TV have been in negotiations for months, with Levitan’s pact getting close.) Read More »

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‘Glee’ & ‘Modern Family’ Win Humanitas Prizes, CBS’ Nina Tassler Gets Roasted

By | Thursday September 16, 2010 @ 3:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Feature Precious, series Glee, Modern Family, The Good Wife and Nurse Jackie and movie Temple Grandin were among the winners at the 36th Humanitas Prizes awarded today at a luncheon in Beverly Hills. The monetary prizes recognize writers whose work “entertain, engage and enrich the viewing public.” Geoffrey Fletcher won the feature film category for Precious, competing in a field that included Oscar winner The Hurt Locker. Read More »

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EMMYS BACKSTAGE: ‘Modern Family’

By | Sunday August 29, 2010 @ 9:44pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

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 … Read More »

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TCA: Steve Levitan On McPherson’s Ouster, Nathan Lane Joining ‘Modern Family’, & Chances He’ll Do A Show At Fox Again

Nellie Andreeva

Family Man: Showrunner Series Q&A Steve Levitan

During a coffee break at TCA today, Modern Family co-creator/executive producer Steve Levitan dived straight in about Steve McPherson’s sudden exit from ABC Entertainment. “My genuine reaction was this … Read More »

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Family Man: Showrunner Steve Levitan

By | Sunday August 1, 2010 @ 12:31pm PDT

Steve Levitan, 47, is known for creating the TV series Just Shoot Me!  Stark Raving Mad, Stacked, Back to You, with varying degrees of success. He’s also known for being highly vocal in his displeasure with the networks (like NBC and Fox) at times. And, in the words of one producer, “for being the only Jew in Hollywood who wears a 44 long”. But the veteran writer/producer — who won an Emmy Award as executive producer of Frasier and has written for the Larry Sanders Show, Men Behaving Badly, The Wonder Years and other comedy shows — is now a happy guy at the helm ABC’s Wednesday night sitcom hit Modern Family, which he co-runs with Chris Lloyd. While he has some strong feelings about the state of the TV industry, he admits in this Showrunner Q&A with Deadline contributor Diane Haithman — done before Modern Family was nominated for Emmys — that these days he’s finding it pretty hard to complain:

SL: Obviously, everything I say in this interview is [about] myself and my writing partner Chris Lloyd, we were doing this together.

DH: OK. How did you come up with the mix of characters for Modern Family and decide: This will be our neighborhood?

We knew we wanted to do something about family, and we started to realize we wanted to do something in the documentary form. We wanted to do multiple families, because we both liked the adult relationships. We didn’t want to be constantly doing kid stories, we wanted to be able to do both. Frasier was based on an adult brother relationship, and an adult father-son relationship. Just Shoot Me was a complicated adult father-daughter relationship. So then it was a matter of populating it with multiple families, and the idea was, how has family changed recently? So let’s start in the middle with a very conventional, right down the middle family — a working husband, a stay-at-home mom, and three kids. And the kids were kind of loosely based on my family in terms of the sexes and ages of the kids. And then we wanted to do a gay couple. And we wanted to do something cross-cultural as well. And what was nice there was the older man/younger woman thing. We could have done three siblings, and one of them was married [to someone from another culture]. But we liked the idea of the father being with the younger woman because you’ve got multiple things going on.  There was nice conflict and tension. Read More »

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EMMYS: Q&A With Supporting Comedy Actor Nominee Ty Burrell

Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s 2010 Emmy and TCA coverage.

Ty Burrell isn’t quite an overnight success. It only seems that way. He had been working steadily in Hollywood for nearly 10 years before shooting to the next level this past year with his career-defining role as the cluelessly hilarious dad Phil Dunphy on the freshman ABC comedy hit Modern Family. He found out on July 8 that he’d earned his first Primetime Emmy nomination for supporting comedy actor, one of three noms for Modern Family Read More »

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