‘Pepper’ creators salt away deal at 20th

Berg, Harberts sign seven-figure pact at 20th TV

HOLLYWOOD — “Pepper Dennis” creators Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts have sealed a two-year overall deal at 20th Century Fox TV.

Under the seven-figure pact, Berg and Harberts continue to oversee “Pepper,” which stars Rebecca Romijn as an unlucky-in-love Chicago TV reporter. The duo also will develop projects for the studio.

Berg and Harberts have been set up at 20th Century Fox since 2003, when they signed their first deal with the studio and got into the pilot development business.

“It does feel like home to us, which made it really easy for us to remain here,” Berg said. “They’ve given us a lot of free rein.”

Harberts praised the way 20th Century Fox TV execs handle feedback and notes on their projects.

“It’s rare to work with executives who make your project better,” he said. “They’ve been thoughtful in their notes and really collaborative — which is really unusual.”

Twentieth Century Fox TV prexy Gary Newman said Berg and Harberts’ “work ethic and mindset” made it easy for the studio to renew their deal.

“They’re so versatile, and they proved this year with ‘Pepper’ that they’re terrific showrunners,” he said. “We believe they have a series in them.”

The duo are hoping to see an improvement in the performance for the WB’s “Pepper Dennis,” which scored strong reviews but has bowed to weak numbers on the soon-to-croak Frog net.

Harberts noted production on “Pepper” started the day Time Warner and CBS announced the demise of the WB.

” ‘Pepper’s’ our baby, and we hope to keep nurturing it,” he said.

With the fate of “Pepper” still uncertain, Berg and Harberts said it remains to be seen whether they’ll be creating new projects next development season. A high priority, though, is to get back into business with the Fox net, where they’ve developed past pilots including “One Big Happy” and worked on several shows — most recently, “Wonderfalls.”

The scribes’ other credits include series “Roswell,” “North Shore” and “Beverly Hills, 90210” and the feature “Valentine.”

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