EXCLUSIVE: Josh Friedman, writer/executive producer of Locke & Key, is staying in business with 20th Century Fox TV, which produced the Fox pilot. Friedman has signed a rich three-year overall deal with the studio to develop new projects. Additionally, he will serve as consulting producer on the studio’s new drama series The Finder, a spinoff from veteran Bones.
Friedman, a busy feature writer with such credits as War of the Worlds and The Black Dhalia, has created four TV projects that have gone to pilot, and one of them, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, went to series and ran on Fox for two seasons. 20th TV chairman Dana Walden said she and fellow chairman Gary Newman had been tracking Friedman for a while and finally got to do a project with him with Locke & Key, an adaptation of Joe Hill’s graphic novel. Walden praised Friedman’s convictions to keep the pilot true to his vision and for acting as a very responsible producer on a big-budget production. “Josh is an incredible writer with a knack for creating genre programming, which makes him a perfect fit for our studio which has produced shows like The X Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel,” Walden said. “He did beautiful work on Locke & Key, and while it didn’t ultimately go to series, it was a pilot we were immensely proud of. He also has a fantastic sense of humor, which really comes through in his work and makes it very distinct.”
After Fox passed on Locke & Key, 20th TV tried shopping the project to cable networks and received interest, but ultimately — weighing the big uncertainty that a cable network would be able to mount a high-end series against substantial additional costs 20th TV would accrue from keeping the sets up in Pittsburgh and extending the options on the actors while potential cable suitors crunch budget numbers — the studio and producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman opted to shelve the project for good. “Short of getting Locke & Key picked up, I can’t imagine having a better experience than the one I had with the 20th TV team,” Friedman said. “They trust, they support, they’re great partners who gave me every chance to succeed. I’m excited to settle down with them, build a home, and hopefully syndicate a couple children.” In addition to Locke & Key and Terminator, Friedman’s produced pilots were ABC’s Sherlock Holmes-flavored Elementary, penned under his overall deal at Touchstone TV, and the CW’s Prodigy. Friedman, repped by UTA and attorney Karl Austen, also has received attention for his blog I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing, which is credited for starting the Snakes on a Plane Internet buzz and also made noise with the “real-life TV procedural” Sledgehammer And Whore.