Under pact, singer to be placed in sitcom pilots

Nick Lachey has sealed a six-figure deal to join bride Jessica Simpson at ABC.

Under his talent holding pact at the Alphabet web and Touchstone TV, Lachey will be placed in one of the net’s sitcom pilots. Deal also includes a feature component with the net’s sister Disney film studio.

In addition, the deal includes a music or variety special component. ABC recently announced plans for Lachey and Simpson to host a modern-day “Sonny and Cher”-style variety show sometime this spring.

Lachey, who’s repped by ICM and Marty Adelstein, first came to prominence as front man of the boy band 98 Degrees. He went solo last year, releasing a self-titled CD in late 2003.

But it was the MTV series “Newlyweds,” currently shooting its second season, that made the singer a household name. The reality show, which follows the couple’s lives as they cope with being young and married with separate pop-star careers, has played out as a comedy.

Since then, the couple have been in high demand, recently hosting “Saturday Night Live” and the studio portion of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.”

Simpson has already been at work with ABC, having partnered with producer Ted Harbert last fall to develop a sitcom with the network and 20th Century Fox TV.

Network insiders said it’s possible ABC may even pair the Simpson and Lachey projects back-to-back, perhaps inside the web’s “TGIF” franchise.

(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)

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