U TV, Fisher forge deal

NEW YORK — In a major step toward boosting its sitcom presence, Universal Television has signed Carrie Fisher to a two-year deal worth $3 million to develop comedies.

Fisher long ago went from being best known as the princess with bad hair who saved the galaxy to a high-salaried script doctor who saves movies. To Universal TV president Ken Solomon, she’s exactly the prescription the studio needed.

“My first day here was July 7, and to get Carrie Fisher to come to television for the first time is a gigantic coup for Universal, and is indicative of a new future for the company,” Solomon said. “A week ago, we had one comedy on the air, and now we have two, with ABC picking up ‘Something So Right.’ We’ve been trying to balance our success in drama with a greater emphasis on comedy, and Carrie will provide a big boost.”

Fisher begin making a transition from acting to writing with the bestselling novel “Postcards From the Edge,” which she adapted to the bigscreen for director Mike Nichols. She wrote the follow-up novel “Surrender the Pink,” and her most recent novel is “Delusions of Grandma.”

While she acts occasionally — most recently with a turn in “Austin Powers” — Fisher’s best known for doctoring film scripts, ranging from “Lethal Weapon 3” to “Sister Act” and “Hook.” Given Fisher’s range, Solomon feels she’ll be able to make the transition to the small screen.

“It might have been a stretch to ask an actress to write a novel or a film, but for somebody who’s proved her skill at developing sophisticated comedies and characters, this is as close to perfect as we could hope for,” Solomon said. “She has a distinctive voice, and will bring a fresh perspective. Whether it’s ‘3rd Rock’ or ‘Seinfeld,’ those shows are special because they have an original point of view.”

The plan is for U brass to sit with Fisher and hatch a bunch of ideas whose pilots she’ll probably write, and then possibly hand off to writing teams. “A lot of our business is devoted to getting talented writers who will attract talented actors. Call me crazy, but Carrie knows all of them,” Solomon said. Fisher’s deal was made by ICM’s Richard Feldman and attorney Michael Gendler of Gendler, Codikow & Carroll.

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