EXCLUSIVE: After three years at ABC Studios, The Neighbors and Galavant creator Dan Fogelman is heading to a new TV home. In a very competitive situation, with four studios bidding, Fogelman has signed a rich four-year overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV.
Under the eight-figure, pure development deal, Fogelman will develop drama, live-action and animated comedy projects, producing, writing himself or supervising other writers.
This past season, Fogelman produced three pilots through his Rhode Island Ave Productions banner — two at ABC, the NBA comedy and The King Of 7B, and one at Fox, Grandfathered. While none of the ABC pilots went to series, the Fox one did, landing on the fall schedule.
Through the John Stamos-starring Grandfathered, which is co-produced by ABC Studios and 20th TV, Fogelman got to work with the Fox and 20th TV executives, including Fox TV Group chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman, who oversee both the network and the studio, and 20th TV’s Jonnie Davis and Howard Kurtzman. Fox had been very high on Grandfathered from the get-go, going aggressively after the pitch and outbidding other networks, including ABC.
For Walden and Newman, the desire to work with Fogelman goes further back, to another Fox comedy pilot they did with him when running 20th TV, the 2006 basketball half-hour The 12th Man.
“Nine years ago, we did a pilot with Dan which none of us could forget, and we’ve been wanting to be back in business with him ever since,” Walden and Newman said. “He’s a brilliant writer and a magnet for talent and easily one of the most prolific storytellers working in both film and television. He also happens to be a fantastic guy. Everyone, from Howard and Jonnie on down, is thrilled to be working with him again.”
There was a lot going for 20th TV in their efforts to land Fogelman. In addition to being a studio partner on the Fogelman-produced Grandfathered, it has a big series animation division, which would allow Fogelman — one of the top feature animated writers — to pursue TV animated comedy. He is behind the blockbuster Pixar franchise Cars and also wrote the Disney hits Bolt and Tangled. And if Fogelman needed a sign in making the decision, I hear that when driving into the Fox lot to meet with the 20th TV executives, he was greeted by billboards for Me And Earl And The Dying Girl. Fogelman produced the Sundance blockbuster, which won the top prizes at the festival and sold to Fox Searchlight for a record $12 million.
In addition to working on Grandfathered, written/executive produced by Danny Chun, during his deal with 20th TV Fogelman will be able to continue on the ABC/ABC Studios‘ Galavant. The costume musical comedy has been picked up for a second limited installment. At 20th TV, Fogelman, repped by WME, Management 360 and attorney Bruce Gellman, will develop and produce with his collaborator at Rhode Island Ave Prods (and old college friend) Jess Rosenthal.
On the feature side, Fogelman, one of the highest-paid screenwriters, also penned Crazy Stupid Love, Last Vegas and The Guilt Trip and recently wrote and directed Danny Collins.
It is a week of major life changes for Fogelman. In addition to switching TV homes, he also is getting married this weekend, just as Me And Earl opens. Mazel tov!
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