Touchstone Television is keeping the team behind “Grey’s Anatomy” together, inking a two-year producing-directing deal with helmer Peter Horton.
Horton, who directed “Grey’s” pilot, will continue to serve as co-exec producer on the series, which last month ended its frosh season as TV’s top-rated medical drama. The former “thirtysomething” star will also direct and exec produce at least one additional pilot for the studio each year as part of the seven-figure pact.
In the wake of the success of “Grey’s,” Touchstone also inked a long-term deal with series creator Shonda Rhimes, while series exec producer Mark Gordon already had a pact at Touchstone.
All three of the pilots Horton directed — “Grey’s,” “Birdland” and “Class of 96” — snagged series orders.
Touchstone deal cements a longstanding relationship Horton has had with Disney and ABC. In addition to “thirtysomething,” Horton has directed several pilots for the company and helmed episodes of a number of Alphabet series, making a directing-producing deal a logical next step.
Even when ABC was struggling in the ratings, “I always felt the pendulum would have to swing back,” Horton told Daily Variety. “I just keep doing episodes and pilots for them. Now that they’re starting to climb back up the ladder, I wanted to stay there and help them keep climbing.”
A big chunk of Horton’s time will be devoted to “Grey’s,” including directing the first and fifth episodes of the new batch of 22 episodes.
In addition to directing and producing for Touchstone, Horton said he plans to develop projects as a writer. His Touchstone deal doesn’t cover development, giving WMA-repped Horton the ability to set up projects elsewhere. However, since he’d likely want to direct any pilots he writes, Touchstone would be a logical home for any development, Horton added.
“There are a bunch of ideas I want to pursue,” he said.
In addition, a drama series project Horton wrote with Nick Thiel (“LAX”) last year is still in the works at Imagine TV. He’s also in development with Bedford Falls on “Long Time Gone,” a feature penned by Karen Lutz (“Legally Blonde”) based on the book “Angel, Angel.”