Peacock pilots Louis-Dreyfus deal

Former 'Seinfeld' thesp, NBC sign on the dotted line

After weeks of speculation and negotiations, NBC has finally sealed a deal to bring former “Seinfeld” star Julia Louis-Dreyfus back to television.

Peacock has made a pilot commitment to a half-hour comedy created by Louis-Dreyfus’ husband, Brad Hall. Carsey-Werner-Mandabach will produce the pilot.

Planned for midseason

Show is being targeted for midseason 2001-02. Should NBC decide to turn the pilot into a series, Louis-Dreyfus has agreed to star in 15 episodes per season, instead of the standard 22 segs.

In the event the pilot is not picked up to series, Peacock has agreed to pay thesp a significant penalty.

While Louis-Dreyfus is contractually obligated to make only 15 segs per season, there are provisions for her to increase her commitment in future seasons. In addition, insiders indicate thesp has agreed to stay with a series for between six and seven years, rather than the standard four- or five-year deal inked by most talent.

Reps for Louis-Dreyfus and Hall first pitched the half-hour comedy around town in January, sending out copies of the script to webs including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and HBO (Daily Variety, Jan. 30). In an unusual alliance, CAA (which reps Louis-Dreyfus) and Endeavor (which reps Hall) jointly pitched the script, which came with a number of demands attached.

NBC emerged as a front-runner by mid-February, when attentions turned to signing a studio partner (Daily Variety, Feb. 13). Working out the details with C-W-M took another 10 days. Deal finally was sealed Thursday.

Hall’s script stars Louis-Dreyfus as a performer surrounded by a cast of quirky characters. The show would play out in real time and may be shot single-camera.

Deal makes Louis-Dreyfus the second “Seinfeld” alum to attempt a solo sitcom career on NBC. Peacock pacted with Michael Richards last year for a short-lived laffer in which Richards played a bumbling private eye.

Jason Alexander, who played nebbishy George on “Seinfeld,” may also stage a comeback next season. He and his reps are currently shopping a sitcom proposal to the webs; skein would be produced via Alexander’s overall deal at 20th.

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