EXCLUSIVE: As he is wrapping his first starring TV series role on NBC‘s 30 Rock, Alec Baldwin is staying in business with the network and the studio behind the departing Emmy-winning comedy. I’ve learned that Baldwin, whose turn on 30 Rock has earned him two Emmys, has signed a two-year overall deal with Universal Television. Under the pact, Baldwin, who also serves as a producer on 30 Rock, will develop and produce series projects for the studio, including potential new starring vehicles for him. Baldwin joins his 30 Rock co-star, the series’ creator Tina Fey, who recently signed a new four-year overall deal with Universal TV. The pact assures Baldwin’s continued presence in the TV business. He had indicated that he may leave acting post-30 Rock for “more of a normal life,” and also has been constantly rumored for a potential political career. The current seventh and final season of 30 Rock ends January 31. READ MORE »
EXCLUSIVE: Blair Underwood has signed a major development/talent holding deal with Universal Television. Under the pact, the studio will develop a starring vehicle for the actor, with him and Tagline Television attached to produce. The deal also includes a talent component, allowing Uni TV to cast Underwood in another project if the one developed for him, which is a priority, doesn’t go.
The deal extends Underwood’s longstanding relationship with NBC/Universal TV dating back to Underwood’s television debut on The Cosby Show and includes his Golden-Globe nominated run on the network’s hit series LA Law and his recent portrayal of the President of the US on the 2011 drama The Event. Underwood’s TV series credits also include HBO’s In Treatment, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination, CBS’ The New Adventures Of Old Christine and ABC’s Dirty Sexy Money.
Underwood, repped by ICM Partners and Thruline Entertainment, just wrapped a successful Broadway debut as Stanley in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire,
EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of Hazy Mills’ freshman Grimm becoming the first NBC series to earn an early renewal for next season, Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner’s production company has signed a new two-year overall deal with Universal TV, which co-produces Grimm. This is the second consecutive pact at NBC for Hazy Mills Prods and the third overall (because of Hayes’ relationship with NBC and its sister studio through Will & Grace, the production banner was based there at its launch before moving to CBS Studios with two back-to-back deals). That stint at CBS proved fortuitous because there Hayes and Milliner developed a close relationship with then-CBS Studios’ head of cable development Bela Bajaria, who is now overseeing Universal TV as EVP.
ABC has bought The Cult Of Mac, a single-camera comedy from Australian playwright/TV writer Tony McNamara (Tangle), ABC Studios and studio-based Brillstein Entertainment. It centers on Ted Macfadden, who casts back into his 1987 Chicago childhood with his iconoclastic/crazy dad Mac for inspiration in parenting his …
Universal TV has rounded out its development team with the hire of Andy Weil as VP Comedy Development. Universal TV EVP Bela Bajaria last month appointed Russell Rothberg as SVP drama/department head, Tracey Pakosta as SVP comedy/department head and …
NBC has bought two more single-camera comedy projects: Life As I Blow It, from Chelsea Lately and After Lately writer-panelist Sarah Colonna, and Satellites, a workplace comedy from Weeds writer-producer Stephen Falk.
Life As I Blow It is based on Colonna’s upcoming book and follows Colonna and her life in the Midwest surrounded by eccentric friends and family whose opinions and actions know no boundaries. Happy Madison and Sony TV are producing along with Colonna’s management company New Wave Entertainment, Lunch Bag Snail Prods and Universal TV. Colonna will write the script and executive produce with Danielle Sanchez, who will supervise, Doug Robinson, Abbey MacDonald, Michael Pelmont and Brian Volk Weiss. APA-repped Colonna recently performed on the Comedians of Chelsea Lately tour.
EXCLUSIVE: NBC is China-bound. The network has bought a cop drama project set in Shanghai from writers Cyrus Voris and Ethan Reiff. The project is about a pair of fugitive recovery agents working in China’s (and the world’s) largest city, population 23 million. It stems from a blind script deal Voris and Reiff had at NBC and will be produced by Universal TV. Voris and Reiff had been thinking about doing a cop show set in China for a while, and separately new NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke had been looking to do a show set in the Asian country for some time, originally as top development executive at 20th TV. UPDATED: Voris and Reiff have an extensive background and knowledge of China working on Chinese-themed projects, including co-writing the story for DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda, which was set in old China. The new project reunites UTA-repped Voris and Reiff with NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt. The two co-created and executive produced the Showtime drama Sleeper Cell, which ran for two seasons while Greenblatt was at the helm of the pay cable network.
EXCLUSIVE: Dick Wolf’s Universal TV-based production company is having an active development season under new scripted development executive Danielle Gelber. Last month, NBC bought a firefighter drama from feature writers Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. Now I’ve learned that Wolf Films has set up two more hourlong projects at NBC — one from The L Word creator Ilene Chaiken and one from former Smallville executive producers Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer — that put a twist on two classic franchises, medical and cop dramas. In addition to the writers, each show is executive produced by Wolf, Wolf Films president Peter Jankowski and Gelber. The untitled Chaiken project centers on a lesbian couple who are doctors at an inner-city Philadelphia hospital. The Slavkin/Swimmer project is a high-tech character-driven procedural about investigators who go into the memory banks of murder victims in order to solve the crimes.