Showrunner still ‘Arrested’

Hurwitz locked in for third season of 'Development'

After weeks of negotiations, “Arrested Development” creator Mitch Hurwitz has signed a new deal to remain as showrunner of the 20th Century Fox TV/Imagine series.

Pact locks in Hurwitz for the third season of the series. He’s also locked in for season four, assuming Fox Broadcasting decides to renew the series for another year.

It’s believed 20th offered Hurwitz an overall deal, with a provision for developing new projects. Such a pact is pretty standard for a showrunner of an Emmy-winning skein like “Arrested” that’s entering its third year.

Hurwitz, however, decided he wanted to keep his focus on “Arrested” rather than split his attention between the series and future development.

In the short term, such a move may mean a financial sacrifice for Hurwitz, since overall deals almost always pay out more coin than straight-ahead showrunner deals.

On the other hand, since Hurwitz is now a free agent in terms of development, the in-demand scribe ultimately could ink a lucrative deal for his next piece of development with another studio (or 20th). It’s also believed Hurwitz’s showrunner deal pays the scribe a lucrative per-episode fee.

What’s more, the distinctive comedy served up on “Arrested” could portend a strong feature career for Hurwitz. Other TV writers of critically hailed but low-rated shows, like Judd Apatow (“The 40-Year-Old Virgin”), have found success on the bigscreen.

With a deal locked in, Hurwitz now is free to begin staffing up for the third season of “Arrested.”

One series vet, Brad Copeland, has decided to ankle the series for NBC’s “My Name Is Earl.” A couple of other scribes may leave, though no final decisions have been made.

Deals already are in place for Ron Weiner (“Futurama”) and Tom Saunders (“Method and Red”) to join “Arrested” as writers.

Both 20th and Hurwitz declined comment.

Meanwhile, in other staffing news:

  • “Freaks and Geeks” scribes Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah are coming on board as showrunners of J.J. Abrams’ new midseason dramedy “What About Brian.” They’ll serve as exec producers of the ABC skein, working with series creator Dana Stevens. Abrams, Thom Sherman and Bryan Burk also remain as exec producers.

Sachs and Judah will continue to develop new series projects for Touchstone Television under their overall deal with the studio.

  • DeAnn Heline and Eileen Heisler, who created last season’s NBC laffer “Committed,” have joined the new CBS laffer “How I Met Your Mother.” They’ll serve as exec producers, working with series creators/exec producers Carter Bay and Craig Thomas.
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