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CBS eyes new deal

Jonathan Axelrod and James Widdoes, two exec producers on the hit CBS sitcom “Dave’s World,” are close to signing an exclusive pact to develop and produce series with CBS Entertainment Prods.

The agreement would mark a new kind of deal for the Eye web’s in-house division, which has generally allied itself with producers or companies on a show-by-show basis.

By contrast, ABC Prods., in anticipation of changes in the financial interest and syndication rules, has aggressively pursued overall talent deals, in a manner similar to the major studios. NBC Prods. has also recently taken steps along those lines, making a deal with producer David Jacobs, joining existing pacts with Winifred Hervey, Susan Baerwald and others.

Focus on prod’n

Axelrod gave up his position as co-chairman of the Producers Entertainment Group (a partner on “Dave’s World” along with CBS and Fred Barron Prods.) last March to focus on production. He remains on TPEG’s board, having joined the company in 1990 following stints as a partner in a talent agency and heading movie and TV production at New World Pictures.

Widdoes, who started as an actor, has become one of TV’s most sought-after comedy directors, handling those chores on “Dave’s World” and various other projects. A career footnote remains his role as frat-house prez Hoover in the feature “Animal House.”

CBS Entertainment Prods. has become the network’s leading supplier, behind such high-rated shows as “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,””Dave’s World,””Rescue 911, “”Walker, Texas Ranger” and “Evening Shade.”

“Dave’s World” is CBS’ highest-rated new series, averaging a 14.0 rating, 21 share in Nielsen season to date.

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