EXCLUSIVE: He is behind the hottest show on television. Now Emmy nominated Ryan Murphy has landed one of the biggest deals ever for a TV writer-producer that spans television, music and theater. I hear he is closing a new 4-year $24-million overall deal with Glee producer 20th Century Fox TV for his services on the Fox series and new development through his Ryan Murphy Prods. The sum includes advances against future profits. Additionally, under the pact, Murphy will share profits from Glee’s music business – album sales and downloads – and will also receive a portion of Glee‘s touring and merchandising revenues. Both clauses are retroactive, covering the show’s red-hot freshman season. Also, Murphy has the option to mount a Glee Broadway musical, on which he also would be a profit participant. All in all, the new deal could potentially earn Murphy as much as $10 million a year over the next 4 years if Glee continues to grow.
In its size, it rivals the the $60 million five-year pact JJ Abrams inked with Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros TV in 2006 as that covered both Abrams’ TV and feature services. In scope, it is similar to the mega pact 20th TV has in place with Seth MacFarlane, which also includes multiple auxiliary revenue streams. That deal could hit $100 million over its six-year span. Murphy’s new multi-faceted deal succeeds the 3-year three-company pact Murphy inked in 2007 with News Corp. entities FX, 20th Century Fox TV and Fox Broadcasting Co. That deal covered his services on his FX series Nip/Tuck, an overall deal with 20th TV that led to the development of Glee and a first-look component with 20th TV through which the network landed the hit dramedy.
Murphy has a strong track record. He has created/co-created 3 series so far, the WB’s Popular, Nip/Tuck and Glee. Glee, which he co-created with Ian Brennan and Brad Falchuk, has dominated pop culture since its launch last fall, in addition to solid ratings and critical acclaim. The musical dramedy recently earned 19 Emmy nominations, more than any other series. Also recently, it landed a sizable off-network syndication deal with Oxygenafter after only one season. The show has also become a music industry powerhouse, setting records with 3 consecutive No.1 albums within a calendar year and 14 Top 40 hits. It also has boosted the sales for every artist whose songs have been featured on the show and also spawned a sold-out concert tour.
After a start in journalism, CAA-repped Murphy segued to screenwriting in the late 1990s when his romantic comedy script Why Can’t I Be Audrey Hepburn? was purchased by Steven Spielberg. In addition to his strong TV career, Murphy has continued to stay active in features. His most recent movie, Sony Pictures’ Julia Roberts starrer Eat Pray Love, opens August 13. Ryan recently signed a new $5-million deal with Sony to write and direct another feature starring Roberts.