Under the pact, Fogelman will continue to help steer This Is Us, which is headed into its fourth season, and develop new series for the studio, now owned by Disney, through his Rhode Island Ave. Productions. (This Is Us has bot been renewed by NBC but that is considered a formality.)
Fogelman was one of the biggest names on 20th TV’s roster to come into play this year. It was important for the studio to step up to keep him and it did so. No one would comment but I hear Fogelman’s new deal is in the nine figures.
This is the latest big overall deal announced by 20th TV since its acquisition by Disney (along with other key 21st Century Fox assets) was finalized in March. It brings Fogelman back in the Disney fold where he established himself as a screenwriter with the Pixar hit Cars, followed by the Disney animated features Bolt and Tangled.
Before moving to 20th TV in 2015, he had an overall deal at ABC Studios stemming from the Disney relationship on the feature side, which yielded two comedy series, The Neighbors and period musical Galavant.
Fogelman got off to a quick start at 20th TV, selling two broadcast projects in his maiden development season, This Is Us and Pitch, both of which went to pilot and then series.
This Is Us, which originated as a movie idea and was written on spec by Fogelman, was a breakout ratings and critical hit for NBC. Having recently wrapped its third season, This Is Us is the highest-rated series on broadcast TV among adults 18-49 this season with a 3.79 Live+7 rating. It is the fourth most watched show behind CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, NCIS and Young Sheldon.
This Is Us, which Fogelman is co-showrunning with Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, has garnered a slew of Emmy nominations, including back-to-back best drama series noms, with three acting wins, in the lead actor category for Sterling K. Brown and in the guest actor field for Gerald McRaney and Ron Cephas Jones.
Baseball drama Pitch, which Fogelman co-created with Rick Singer, aired on Fox for one season, quickly reaching a cult status.
“Dan Fogelman is everything you could want in a creator — inventive, collaborative, wise, funny, unbelievably talented and improbably humble,” said Dana Walden, chairman of Disney TV Studios and ABC Entertainment. “He has devoted his heart and soul to every perfect episode of This is Us. He deserves every bit of the success he’s enjoying right now and Craig (Hunegs), Jonnie (Davis), Howard (Kurtzman) and I consider ourselves lottery winners to be in business with him.”
Added Fogelman, “I continue to be so grateful to my incredible partners at 20th – Peter Rice, Dana Walden, Jonnie Davis, Howard Kurtzman and every single person at the studio whom I’ve been fortunate enough to work with these past four years. It has been the best partnership of my career, I’ve never felt so supported, and I am beyond excited to begin this next chapter at Disney.
Fogelman is a rare TV creator who has never been a writer-producer for hire on primetime series and has only worked on series he has originated. His first show as a creator was the 2006 WB comedy Like Family.
Fogelman, recipient of the 2016 Humanitas Prize for the This Is Us pilot script, began his career in Hollywood working on The Howie Mandel Show, The Man Show and TV Guide Channel, where he wrote the 60-second celebrity bios.
Fogelman’s feature credits also include Crazy Stupid Love, starring Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling; Last Vegas, starring Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline; The Guilt Trip, starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen; and Danny Collins, starring Al Pacino. Fogelman’s latest film, Life, Itself, which he directed, starred Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Annette Bening, and Antonio Banderas.
This is the ninth overall deal announced by 20th TV In the four weeks since the Disney acquisition has gone through, joining pacts with Drew Goddard, Jason Winer, Octavia Spencer, Nora Smith, Jake Kasdan & Melvin Mar, Marlene King, Liz Meriwether, and Amy Holden Jones.
Fogelman deal was negotiated by WME and Bruce Gellman.