EXCLUSIVE: Alexandra Cunningham, who developed and executive produced NBC’s Prime Suspect, has signed a new overall deal with the studio behind the series, Universal Television. Under the two-year, seven-figure pact, Cunningham will develop new projects for the studio, which now is a supplier not only to NBC but also to other broadcast and cable networks. “Alex Cunningham is a fantastic writer who can shape complicated characters and already has new, break-out ideas for next season,” said Universal TV EVP Bela Bajaria. “She is well-regarded and we are excited to work with her in the upcoming year on a new slate of shows.
NBC had tried to develop an U.S. version of iconic British series Prime Suspect with another writer, but it was Cunningham’s take that got to a pilot stage and her script that attracted Maria Bello for the lead. The pilot went to series, which was well received and developed a cult following but ultimately didn’t draw an audience large enough to get a full-season order. However, Prime Suspect was a favorite of NBC brass who have re-upped the overall deals of all key auspices on the show, Cunningham and executive producers Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey of Film 44. Before moving to NBC and Universal TV in 2010, WME-repped Cunningham was based at ABC Studios and was a key writer-producer on the first six seasons of Desperate Housewives. During her time on the dramedy series, she wrote more episodes than just about any other writer, with the exception of series creator/exec producer Marc Cherry. Prior to Housewives, Cunningham, who also is an accomplished playwright, worked on HBO’s Rome, Fox’s Fastlane and ABC’s NYPD Blue.