'Dharma' scribe seals deal with studio
“Dharma & Greg” and “Caroline in the City” co-creator Dottie Dartland Zicklin is headed back into the development wars, inking an overall deal with Touchstone Television.
Two-year, seven-figure pact reps the scribe’s first overall since she left 20th Century Fox TV in 2001 following the end of “Dharma.” Zicklin will initially focus on developing projects for Touchstone, though it’s possible she could join the staff of an existing skein down the road.
In addition to “Dharma” and “Caroline,” Zicklin was a scribe-producer on ABC’s “Grace Under Fire.” Latter skein was created by her “Dharma” collaborator, Chuck Lorre.
Touchstone exec veepee Julia Franz cited Zicklin’s development track record as a factor behind the deal.
“It’s rare to find writers who have generated multiple hits, and she is one of those few,” Franz said.
Zicklin said she was driven to Touchstone in part because of a meeting she had with studio prexy Mark Pedowitz.
“He said to me, ‘I don’t know how to make a hit television show,’ and that’s why” he needed to hire scribes and producers, Zicklin recalled.
“I loved that attitude,” she said. “It’s egoless and collaborative and it makes the whole situation so much easier.”
While the bulk of her comedy experience is in multicamera laffers, Zicklin — repped by UTA — said she’s not wedded to any particular form of sitcom. She said she’s already been thinking up ideas and is planning to pitch studio brass in the next few weeks.
Zicklin’s most recent small-screen effort was the 2004 WB comedy pilot “Joint Custody,” which starred “Grey’s Anatomy” thesp Kate Walsh. She said she took a few years off after “Dharma” to focus on “starting a family.”