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Wind Dancer, ABC deal expected

Wind Dancer Prods., the outfit headed by Matt Williams that’s behind the ABC hit “Home Improvement,” is expected to announce an exclusive deal with the network calling for at least two new series over the next few years.

The company, which includes Williams’ fellow “Improvement” exec producers and co-creators David McFadzean and Carmen Finestra, has been housed the past three years under an umbrella deal at the Walt Disney Studios, through which it produces the Tim Allen comedy–a stand-alone hit in its sophomore season after moving to Wednesday night.

Disney is expected to remain allied with Wind Dancer in some fashion, though perhaps only as a distributor, with ABC financing the new shows.

Wind Dancer has become an extremely hot property because of “Home Improvement” and will doubtless command a multimillion-dollar commitment. Like previous ABC deals with producers James L. Brooks and Steven Bochco, the pact is with ABC Entertainment and does not involve in-house division ABC Prods.

It became known about two months ago that Wind Dancer’s deal with Disney was on the verge of expiring and that the company was entertaining offers from other players (Daily Variety, Sept. 24).

At the time, many surmised that Disney could structure a pre-emptive offer by paying advances against syndication revenue from “Home Improvement,” unless Wind Dancer’s desire for greater independence prompted it to seek an alternative to simply renewing its studio pact.

With ABC’s backing, Wind Dancer can operate largely as an independent, as Mozark Prods. and Shukovsky English Entertainment have done since inking their own multiseries pacts with CBS.

Exex at ABC and Wind Dancer couldn’t be reached for comment.

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