EXCLUSIVE: Emmy-winning directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo have signed a two-year exclusive development deal with Universal Media Studios. The two will relocate to UMS from Sony Pictures TV, where they were under overall deals for the past four years. It will be a pretty seamless transition as the Sony TV-produced comedy Community, on which the Russo brothers directed the pilot and serve as directors/executive producers, airs on NBC. Under their pact with UMS, the two will remain executive producers on the underrated single-camera comedy, which is starting to get recognition, recently landing best comedy series nominations from the Television Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. “Our new deal with the Russo brothers shows that NBC is looking for creative producers who are both successful and not afraid to take chances,” NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt said. “Their unique vision and ingenuity should result in some very edgy content that will capture everyone’s attention.”
Anthony and Joe Russo won an Emmy for directing the pilot for Fox’s acclaimed comedy Arrested Development. The two are back in Emmy contention this year with the sophomore season of Community, on which they have helmed 16 episodes, including the pilot. This year, the Russos are submitted for the star-studded hour-long Paintball season finale, and also directed the Dungeons and Dragons episode. In addition to Community, under their Sony deal, Joe and Anthony Russo directed the pilot for the studio’s ABC comedy Happy Endings, on which they also serve as executive producers. Overall, the Russo brothers have directed nine pilots to air over the past 10 years that have gone to series. Anthony Russo called Greenblatt “one of the most creatively inspired executives and producers in the business,” with Joe Russo adding that Greenblatt and his team “fully embrace our distinctive style and taste.” The Russos are with WME, 3 Arts and attorney Karl Austen.