EXCLUSIVE: R.J. Cutler is expanding his relationship with Lionsgate Television. The Oscar-nominated filmmaker (The War Room) and Emmy-winning television producer (American High), has signed a first-look television deal with Lionsgate to develop and produce scripted programming for broadcast and cable. Cutler first teamed with Lionsgate TV this development season on drama  project Nashville, which sold to ABC and was recently picked up to pilot with Cutler executive producing and directing. “R.J.’s interest in expanding his activities in scripted programming meshed perfectly with our desire to continue working with him beyond Nashville,” said Lionsgate TV Group president Kevin Beggs. “He’s an extremely creative and experienced producer and we’re looking forward to developing other projects together as we continue to expand our television business.”

Written by Oscar winner Callie Khouri, Nashville is described as a family soap about love, country music, family, politics and sex set against the backdrop of the Nashville music scene. Cutler and Khouri are executive producing the pilot with Nashville-based Gaylord Entertainment; Lionsgate TV is co-producing with ABC Studios. “We’re having such a great time on Nashville that building on the relationship seemed an obvious next step,” Cutler said. “Lionsgate is the perfect home for the kind of scripted television I want to produce and direct.” Cutler, repped by CAA and attorney Jeanne Newman, is currently producing and directing the feature documentary The World According to Dick Cheney for Showtime.