Inside Move

Butler eyes sitcom return

Former “Grace Under Fire” star Brett Butler is eyeing a primetime comeback.

Thesp is in serious discussions with ABC, her home for six seasons, about returning to the Alphabet in a half-hour comedy being developed by feature helmer Tom Shadyac (“The Nutty Professor,” “Patch Adams,” “Liar Liar”). ABC is expected to make a decision soon about whether to commit to a script for the project, which would likely be produced by Touchstone Television under Shadyac’s overall three-year deal with the studio (Daily Variety, June 4, 1999).

Production on “Grace” was halted two years ago this month, not long after Butler went into rehab for an addiction to painkillers.

Despite her past woes, industry insiders said ABC Entertainment Television Group toppers Lloyd Braun and Stu Bloomberg have met with Butler and were impressed. Shadyac’s willingness to be involved in the project is also a major plus: Helmer is known for his ability to draw stellar perfs from talent with reputations for being difficult, such as Eddie Murphy.

If the still-developing project gets off the ground, Shadyac is expected to exec produce, with an outside scribe brought in to pen a pilot.

Butler is repped by ICM, while Shadyac is repped by UTA.

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