Writer-producer Liz Heldens has signed an overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV. Under the two-year pact, she will join the studio’s upcoming straight-to-series comedic drama created, executive produced by and starring Seth MacFarlane as executive producer.

For the past two years, Heldens was under an overall deal at Sony TV, focused on development. She previously spent eight years at Universal TV, where she created the 2009 NBC medical drama Mercy and 2013 mystery drama Deception and co-created the network’s summer series Camp. She also wrote NBC’s Texas megachurch pilot Salvation, which starred Ashley Judd. Before segueing to development, Heldens spent three seasons on Uni TV’s critically praised drama Friday Night Lights. 

This marks Heldens’ return to 20th TV, where she started her career, creating her first pilot, 2000 Fox drama Damaged Goods, and working on series Boston Public, North Shore and Pepper Dennis. 

“Liz began her career at 20th over a decade ago, and we couldn’t be happier she’s returning under an overall deal,” said TCFTV President of Creative Affairs Jonnie Davis. “She’s a fantastic, soulful, gifted writer who has the unique dexterity to write both comedy and drama, often in the same scene. Her first assignment will be as an executive producer on Seth MacFarlane’s hugely anticipated new live-action series, but we also look forward to having her develop her own projects in the years ahead. For now, though, we’re just happy to welcome her back to the studio family.”

Set 300 years in the future, MacFarlane’s hourlong series follows the adventures of the Orville, a not-so-top-of-the-line exploratory ship in Earth’s interstellar fleet. Facing cosmic challenges from without and within, this motley crew of space explorers will boldly go where no comedic drama has gone before. The series is slated for the 2017-18 television season, with a pilot episode likely filmed in late 2016 and the rest of the episodes in spring 2017.

Heldens is repped by WME.