Jason Ritter has signed a development deal with Universal Media Studios to star in a new hourlong drama series from Parenthood and Friday Night Lights exec producer Jason Katims. Our sister site TVLine broke the news today. That means Ritter will stick around at NBC, where his drama The Event aired for one season, and also stick with Katims, who cast him as Lauren Graham’s love interest last season on Parenthood. Ritter, repped by ICM and manager Joannie Burstein, will reprise that role this season on multiple episodes. What remains unclear is the fate of Ritter’s former series The Event, which we reported last month was trying to find a way to land on its feet at sister network Syfy. Talks about the financial feasibility of moving a network show to cable did take place, but it’s been quiet on that front for a while.
EXCLUSIVE: Jake Kasdan, who directed the pilot for Fox’s New Girl, has signed a one-year development deal with 20th Century Fox Television, the studio that produces the hot new comedy series. Kasdan will serve as an executive producer/director on the series starring Zooey Deschanel, which will air on Tuesdays this fall. He will executive produce the show alongside creator Liz Meriwether, Peter Chernin, Katherine Pope, David Finkel and Brett Baer. Additionally, Kasdan will develop projects for 20th TV and, if one of them goes to pilot, he will also direct it. If not, he is expected to helm another pilot for the studio next season. WME-repped Kasdan is directing his second pilot this year, the HBO comedy Spring/Fall starring Tea Leoni and Hope Davis. On the feature side, he most recently directed the Sony comedy Bad Teacher, starring Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake, which opens on Friday.
EXCLUSIVE: Emmy-winning directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo have signed a two-year exclusive development deal with Universal Media Studios. The two will relocate to UMS from Sony Pictures TV, where they were under overall deals for the past four years. It will be a pretty seamless transition as the Sony TV-produced comedy Community, on which the Russo brothers directed the pilot and serve as directors/executive producers, airs on NBC. Under their pact with UMS, the two will remain executive producers on the underrated single-camera comedy, which is starting to get recognition, recently landing best comedy series nominations from the Television Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. “Our new deal with the Russo brothers shows that NBC is looking for creative producers who are both successful and not afraid to take chances,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said. “Their unique vision and ingenuity should result in some very edgy content that will capture everyone’s attention.”
After launching two Onion-branded cable series this year, the satiric news organization is setting its sights on broadcast next. The Onion, best known for its fake-news newspaper and Web site, has signed a one-year first-look development deal with CBS Television Studios. Under the pact, The Onion’s creative team will develop ideas for non-Onion-branded broadcast comedy series as well as online series for CBS Interactive’s digital properties. “We’re looking forward to the creative challenge and, in fact, we’ve already come up with several exciting ideas, including 3 and a Half Men, 12 Men and Three-Quarters, and 72.683 Women,” said Joe Randazzo, Editor of The Onion. “This new relationship with CBS will hopefully allow us to take fraction-based comedy to new heights.” Added The Onion’s general manager Mitch Semel. “Also, it’s nice to be able to check off ‘Phase 4’ in our seven-part plan to take over the world by 2014. … Here’s hoping those oil prices continue to rise.” While taking over the world is highly dubious, a TV takeover would not be that far-fetched if the CBS Studios deal results in a broadcast series for the 2012-13 season. The Onion currently has two shows on the air: Onion News Network on IFC, which has already been renewed for a second season, and Onion SportsDome on Comedy Central, which is awaiting word after completing its freshman season.