‘Under’ guy on top

'Six' exec producer inks NBC drama deal

“Six Feet Under” exec producer Rick Cleveland has sealed a two-year, seven-figure deal with NBC Universal TV Studios to create hourlong drama projects.

Cleveland will work exclusively on new development during the first year of the pact. That was once the norm with most overall deals, but in recent years such pacts have usually stipulated that scribes spend time on existing series in addition to creating their own shows.

But in the case of Cleveland, NBC Universal TV Studios co-prexy Angela Bromstad said the studio didn’t want to distract Cleveland from figuring out his “passion project.”

“He’s going to be able to really focus on what that is and not worry about being on a staff,” she said. “Rick has sensibilities and a reputation that we were interested in as a studio, and that the network was also interested in. He’s an intelligent drama writer.”

Cleveland, whose credits also include “The West Wing,” said he’ll look to develop hourlong projects in the vein of shows he’s worked on.

“I love the offbeat, character-driven stuff that has some humor in it,” he said. “It’s great to see all of the networks more influenced by cable programming. There are more shows on the air than ever before with unique voices that aren’t like any show on the air.”

Cleveland’s NBC U pact starts in June, once he’s done working on the fifth season of “Six Feet Under.”

Beyond TV, Cleveland will bring his one-man show “My Buddy Bill” to the Geffen Playhouse later this year to help the theater open one of its two new spaces.

Play, which has already been performed in Chicago, is based on “my kind of fantastic relationship with Bill Clinton,” Cleveland said.

Cleveland, who’s repped by CAA, is also penning the feature “Really Trudy” as a vehicle for Darren Star to direct and Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher to produce. Project is based on a real story about a woman who lied about her age and kept attending high school around the country into her early 30s.

Scribe’s other credits include “Maximum Bob” and the feature “Runaway Jury.”

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