EXCLUSIVE: Fox Entertainment is taking the next big step in its animation expansion with its first fully owned series. It will come from Emmy-winning Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon, who has signed a broadcast network-only exclusive direct animation deal with Fox Entertainment. Under the pact, Fox Entertainment’s first direct talent deal with a built-in series commitment, Harmon will create and develop a comedy series targeted to premiere on the network in spring 2022.
Fox Entertainment will produce the series, with Fox-owned Bento Box Entertainment serving as the animation studio.
As part of a major push in adult animation, over the last two years the network has gone from three animated series — stalwarts The Simpsons, Family Guy and Bob’s Burgers — to seven including recent additions Bless the Harts, Duncanville and the upcoming Housebroken and The Great North.
Harmon co-created with Justin Roiland Rick & Morty, one of the biggest adult animated comedy series of the past decade. It is currently airing its fourth season on WarnerMedia’s Adult Swim as part of a 70-episode order. Season 3 broke ratings records as 2017’s No. 1 comedy in key demos and won an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program. Harmon also created and executive produced the popular live-action comedy series Community, which ran for six seasons, garnering multiple Emmy nominations. In 2015, he executive produced the Oscar-nominated animated feature film Anomalisa.
“Before joining the network ranks, I was an independent producer who had the opportunity to work with Dan on one of my very first projects. His singular voice, tenor and conviction to always deliver the unexpected in the stories he tells, let me know right away that he was a special talent,” said Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn. “As one of the most prolific creators working in the business today – and as Fox’s animation brand continues to grow and evolve, with the support and guidance of [Fox Entertainment CEO] Charlie Collier – there’s no better creative partner to have than Dan Harmon.”
Harmon joins a list of established creators who have signed direct deals with Fox Entertainment since the network went indie more than a year ago, including Jeff Davis, Kyle Killen, Mara Brock Akil and Sarah Watson, who wrote and is executive producing Fox’s Untitled Film Reenactment Project pilot from Warner Bros Television, Amblin TV and Fox Entertainment.