Scribe inks TV pact, penning 'Tropic' for the bigscreen

Comedy scribe Etan Cohen has made a seven-figure overall deal with Twentieth Television that keeps him on as a writer and co-exec producer of “King of the Hill” for two seasons and will allow him to create a pilot.

Cohen has also made two scripting deals on comedies to be directed by Jay Roach and Ben Stiller.

The deal comes as Fox nears a 2004 production start on “3001,” the live-action comedy feature that Cohen scripted with “King of the Hill” creator Mike Judge. Judge will direct the pic, about a regular guy who wakes up 1,000 years in the future and finds the world so dumbed down that he is its smartest inhabitant.

Cohen is now writing “Tropic Thunder,” a DreamWorks comedy that Stiller plans to star in, direct and produce through his Red Hour Films banner.

“It is about the making of a big-budget war movie where everything that can go wrong does, and where the actors end up becoming the commandos they are playing,” Cohen said.

Cohen has aligned with “Utopia Street,” a project that Roach’s Everyman Films has been developing. Cohen has been set to rewrite a script by Adam McKay. The comedy is about a newcomer to an idyllic suburban community who is turned off by his next-door neighbor’s aggressive socializing.

The ICM-repped Cohen began his comedy career with Judge. Cohen was a Harvard freshman majoring in Yiddish when Judge changed the course of the frosh’s destiny by agreeing to buy segments Cohen scripted for the renegade MTV animated show “Beavis and Butt-Head.” Cohen was at a seminary in Israel when he discovered that Judge would use his story about how Beavis and Butt-Head mistook a hard-core feminist rally for a brothel. The incident convinced Cohen that comedy was his true calling.

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