EXCLUSIVE: Two of the slew of high-profile overall deals signed recently by 20th Century Fox Television, with writer-director Drew Goddard and actress-producer Octavia Spencer, are migrating to ABC Studios, I have learned. The move follows the recent appointment of 20th TV President of Creative Affairs Jonnie Davis as ABC Studios President. Both 20th TV and ABC Studios are divisions of Disney Television Studios.
I hear in total three recent 20th TV overall deals are moving to ABC Studios, along with the Marc Webb pact, which closed just as Davis was being named ABC Studios President and was announced as that studio’s first overall deal after Davis’ arrival.
I hear Davis had been instrumental in bringing to 20th TV Goddard, Spencer and Webb, all of whom had been pursued by multiple studios. I hear their move to ABC Studios, which was approved by Disney TV Studios toppers Dana Walden and Craig Hunegs, stemmed from a combination of factors — the trio’s strong relationship with Davis, the fact that all were new to the studio and have no existing series at 20th TV, as well as an opportunity to boost the talent roster at ABC Studios. Additionally, Goddard, one of the most sought-after TV creators for overall deals this year, has a close ties with ABC Studios and its partner Marvel TV, having served as an executive producer on their Netflix series Daredevil and The Defenders.
Besides Goddard, Spencer and Webb, who relocated under special circumstances, I hear no other overall deals are expected to migrate between the two sister studios following Davis’ move. That said, the plan is for talent from 20th TV, Fox 21 TV Studios and ABC Studios to closely collaborate on projects. The first example was writer Karin Gist, who is under an overall deal at 20th TV, joining the ABC Studios-produced new ABC series mixed-ish as showrunner.
20th TV has a big roster of top creators and producers who have existing relationships with studio veteran Carolyn Cassidy, 20th TV’s new President of Creative Affairs, and EVP Development Terence Carter. Also bulked up is the roster of Fox 21, run by President Bert Salke.