Universal Media Studios continues to build its talent roster under new NBC chief Bob Greenblatt. The studio has signed a two-year development deal with producer-director Peter Horton. Under the pact, Horton will direct, write and produce new series projects for UMS and NBC. It extends Horton’s relationship with Greenblatt, NBC and UMS, which began in January when he brought to the then-newly appointed NBC chairman Reconstruction, a script he had originally developed for FX a couple of years before. Greenblatt picked up the script, written by Josh Brand, to pilot, with Horton directing and executive producing. “I have long admired Peter’s multiple talents and his knack for making good projects even better,” Greenblatt said. “His creative skills are recognized by his industry peers because he has big and unconventional ideas that make for very inventive and entertaining television. Peter will be an important asset as we continue to re-build our studio.” Horton last had an overall deal with ABC Studios but had opted to go independent over the past several years. He said there was one reason for him to “recommit to one place” and do a deal with NBC: Greenblatt, with whom he first crossed paths almost two decades ago when Greenblatt was at Fox and Horton directed the network’s series Class of ’96. “I have stalked him ever since, because he is the best executive I’ve ever worked with,” Horton said. “Not only is he incredibly collaborative and respectful, he is also incredibly smart and has great taste. You actually look forward to talking to him instead of dreading it.“ Also appealing was to “work with a network that is trying to reinvent itself, reestablish its brand and its place in the constellation,” Horton said. He knows a thing or two about developing for a network that is trying to mount a ratings turnaround – he directed the pilot for ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, which, along with Lost and Desperate Housewives, turned ABC’s ratings fortunes overnight. “It’s a little bit like where ABC was before I did Grey’s Anatomy, Horton says of NBC. “It was a very exciting time, people have more courage and more sense of camaraderie when they’re trying to get something on its feet.”
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