High drama for scribes at WB TV

Writers ink high-dollar multiyear pacts

Warner Bros. TV has signed multiyear overall development deals with seven prominent drama writers, including producers from “Law & Order,” “Party of Five” and the upcoming “Felicity” and “Brimstone.”

Sources speculated that the development deals are collectively worth $12 million to $15 million over the course of three years.

The writers include Michael S. Chernuchin, a former executive producer of “Law & Order” and the CBS dramas “Michael Hayes” and “Brooklyn South”; Lisa Melamed, a co-exec producer of “Party of Five” and supervising producer of “Mad About You”; and Ed Redlich, a producer of ABC’s “The Practice.”

Also under new deals at Warner Bros. are Matthew McNair Carnahan, the creator of NBC’s upcoming John Wells drama “Trinity”; Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris, the creators of Fox’s new drama “Brimstone”; and Jim Leonard, Jr., a co-executive producer of ABC’s “Cracker.”

The deals reps a major drama push by Warner Bros. TV, which tied Columbia TriStar TV as the studio with the most new dramas on the air this fall — four. Sources said the studio, led by Warner Bros. TV president Tony Jonas, focused on finding young writers, many of whom will be placed on current series while developing new ones.

Chernuchin will serve as the executive producer of Fox’s Warner Bros. drama “Brimstone,” starring Peter Horton. Aside from “Law & Order,” where he worked four seasons, and the two frosh CBS dramas from last season, Chernuchin created and executive produced CBS’ “Feds,” and he wrote for NBC’s “Homicide: Life on the Street.” He’s repped by CAA.

Melamed, who has written for comedies (“Mad About You”) and dramas (“Party of Five”), is returning to WB, where she previously was a writer on NBC’s “Sisters.” Under her new deal, she’ll co-executive produce NBC’s family drama “Trinity.” Her other credits include “Charles in Charge” and “Brooklyn Bridge.” She’s repped by the William Morris Agency.

Redlich has spent the past two seasons on ABC’s David E. Kelley drama “The Practice,” most recently as a producer. He also wrote and co-produced “Sweet Justice” and wrote “The Exile.” WB signed him to a multiyear deal, but has loaned Redlich to Touchstone/Imagine, where for one year he will exec produce the WB netlet’s much-anticipated new drama for fall, “Felicity.” Redlich is repped by Chris Silbermann at Broder, Kurland, Webb, Uffner.

Carnahan, whose deal is for two years, created the John Wells drama “Trinity” and will serve as its supervising producer this fall. A New York playwright, Carnahan is new to TV, but he wrote and directed the indie films “Black Circle Boys” and “Mailman.” Among the plays he penned was “Knees of a Cellist,” which is being adapted into a film at MGM. He’s repped by CAA and attorney Brian Wolf.

Reiff and Voris are also newcomers to TV, although they penned the feature “Tales From the Crypt Presents Demon Knight.” Their first shot at a TV script, “Brimstone,” was ordered by Fox for fall, and the duo will now co-exec produce the series they created. They’re repped by the William Morris Agency and manager Steve Freedman.

Leonard, a co-executive producer of ABC’s frosh drama “Cracker” last season, will develop drama series for the studio. He’s also a playwright, who wrote “The Diviners,” which is being adapted for the bigscreen at Avenue Pictures. He penned the Showtime pic “My Own Country” and is repped by CAA and attorney Diane Golden.

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