Carsey, Wayans pact

Damon Wayans has sealed a deal with the Carsey-Werner Co. to produce and star in a comedy series for Fox Broadcasting Co., confirming earlier reports (Daily Variety, Aug. 18).

Fox gave the as-yet untitled series a 13-episode commitment, sources said. Depending on how Fox’s new fall lineup shakes out, the show could bow by the end of this season.

The deal with Wayans’ Nu Systems Prods. marks Carsey-Werner’s first series project for Fox, whose programming execs have long wanted to be in business with TV’s premier indie production outfit.

The Wayans comedy was developed at Fox’s sister division, 20th Century Fox Television, for which the performer is exec producing the new Fox drama “413 Hope St.” Wayans moved his comedy project over to Carsey-Werner after “agreeing to disagree,” according to sources, with 20th execs on creative issues.

In announcing the pact with Carsey-Werner, the company behind such megahits as “The Cosby Show” and “Roseanne,” Wayans said he considers the indie to be a specialist in the half-hour comedy field.

The comic actor will play an undercover detective in the series, a premise designed to give him the chance to develop a range of alter egos for the character. Writers Steve Rudnick and Leo Benvenuti, whose credits include “Space Jam” and “The Santa Clause,” are attached to the show.

Although it’s no longer a 20th TV production, the project is a reunion for Fox and Wayans. He was a writer and performer on “In Living Color,” the sketch comedy series created by older brother Keenen Ivory Wayans which ran on Fox from 1990-1994.

Damon Wayans’ feature credits include “Major Payne,” “Blankman,” “Bulletproof” and “Mo’ Money.”

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