EXCLUSIVE: Kevin Hench, co-creator/executive producer of new ABC comedy series Cristela and executive producer of ABC’s Tim Allen starrer Last Man Standing, has signed a two-year overall deal with the studio behind both shows, 20th Century Fox TV. Under the pact, Hench will focus on Cristela, co-created by and starring comedienne Cristela Alonso, on which he serves as showrunner. Still, “he will have a hand in both,” 20th TV president of creative affairs Jonnie Davis said. “Tim looks to him for his point of view.” Hench, who has been an executive producer on Last Man since its inception, will take on a consulting role for the show’s upcoming fourth season.
“Kevin is incredibly talented writer, very bright, very funny,” Davis said. “We are very impressed with what he did as a soldier on Cristela — he never wavered and nobody at the studio wavered in their belief what this could become. It was his leadership, writing skills and talent management that got us through the day.” Cristela was the Cinderella story of this past pilot season. It was sold to ABC with penalty but didn’t get a pilot order. 20th TV and 21 Laps/Adelstein took the $500,000 penalty, a fraction of what a normal pilot costs, and used it to film a full-length pilot on the stage of Last Man with two days of rehearsal and prep time, doing the blocking in a windowless room using paper plates and metal chairs. Cristela, originally not even budgeted to get a testing, tested great and landed a spot on ABC’s fall scheduler where it will be paired with Last Man on Fridays. Hench is repped by WME and Morris Yorn.