‘Rock’ duo near sitcom deal at Fox

New show set in the '70s

Fox Broadcasting Co. is in advanced talks with Carsey-Werner about a new sitcom set in the 1970s from “3rd Rock From the Sun” creators Bonnie and Terry Turner, sources said Thursday.

While the two sides are still finalizing negotiations, Fox is expected to order 13 episodes of the comedy and to commit to paying license fees for all 13 regardless of whether the show goes forward this fall.

Fox had no comment, but a spokesman for Carsey-Werner confirmed, “Yes, we are in discussions with Fox, but there is no deal.”

If the project pact comes through, the series will be the second one Carsey-Werner has done for Fox. The indie production house is producing Fox’s midseason sitcom with Damon Wayans, too.

The Turners will executive produce the sitcom, co-written by “3rd Rock” writer and consulting producer Mark Brazill (“Mr. Rhodes,” “The Dennis Miller Show”). However, the Turners are expected to choose a separate show runner, especially if their deal comes through to create a new sitcom with Bette Midler for ABC.

The new Fox series, which is still untitled, will be a nostalgic comedy set in rural Wisconsin around a group of teens in the 1970s. Fox actually developed a separate Warner Bros. TV sitcom for this season with 1970s flashbacks, but the Scott Baio starrer never got on the air.

Sources say Fox Entertainment Group prexy Peter Roth is a big fan of NBC’s “3rd Rock” and is very excited about getting a project from that sitcom’s creators. Coincidentally, Roth previously worked on another nostalgic hit comedy set 20 years in the past, “Happy Days.”

Aside from Turners project, the Fox comedies highest on its development list are a Sue Costello comedy from Matt Williams (“Home Improvement”) at Wind Dancer; “The PJ’s” from Imagine TV for midseason; Matt Groening’s “Futurama” from 20th Century Fox TV for midseason; and a Dave Chappelle sitcom pilot from Disney for fall.

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