Imagine ankles Disney for new Fox TV abode

Partnership includes 3-year prod'n pact

Imagine Television, based at Walt Disney Television since 1997, will now call 20th Century Fox Television home.

The partnership between Imagine TV topper Tony Krantz and Imagine’s Ron Howard and Brian Grazer — which has already produced critically acclaimed skeins such as “Sports Night,” “The PJs” and “Felicity” — has inked a new three-year overall production deal with 20th that will go into effect at the end of April.

Deal, which ultimately could be worth up to $30 million, includes an option for two more years.

Current projects

All current Imagine TV properties, including shows now in development, will remain housed at Disney.

“You only have to look as far as the shows they have on the air to see what (Imagine) is about,” said Fox Entertainment Television Group topper Sandy Grushow. “They’re a small company with big ideas, and they’re really aggressive about reaching out to people outside the television mainstream.”

Krantz said Imagine was leaving Disney with no ill will.

“The past three years with Disney, and in particular Lloyd Braun and Joe Roth, have been fantastic for Brian, Ron and me,” he said. “Unfortunately, their economics were such that we could not continue together. Now, we feel both thrilled and deeply committed to our new partners at 20th Century Fox Television . … We plan on making quality hit television for them.”

Twentieth Century Fox Television prexys Dana Walden and Gary Newman were equally enthusiastic about the deal.

‘A great brand’

Imagine “has created a great brand. These are the type of people we want to be in business with,” said Walden.

“I’ve watched for the last several years what Tony has done with the support of Brian and Ron in television,” Newman added. “His company has done some of the most interesting programs in television. What this studio stands for is distinctive, quality programming.”

There had been speculation that Imagine would reup with Disney or move to Warner Bros., but Fox ultimately was the most aggressive in pursuing the company.

Krantz, a former agent at Creative Artists Agency, joined Imagine in April 1997, a few months after the company inked its deal with Disney.

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