Comedy mavens join forces on TV shingle
“Just Shoot Me” creator Steve Levitan and longtime “Frasier” showrunner Christopher Lloyd are getting into business together.Duo have partnered to form their own small-screen shingle, and they’ve talked to at least three studios — Warner Bros. TV, 20th Century Fox and Touchstone TV — about setting up shop on their respective lots. Latter two studios are said to be the most likely homes for the company. It’s unclear whether Levitan and Lloyd plan to write all projects together or if they also aim to supervise the work of other scribes, as is often the case with so-called pod deals. None of the potential players involved on the studio side would comment Tuesday, mostly because it’s not yet clear where the two scribes will end up. Deal marks a reunion for Lloyd and Levitan, who worked together on “Frasier” and “Wings” during the early to mid-1990s. Whatever their goals, partnership of two comedy heavyweights speaks to just how challenging the marketplace for sitcoms has become. A few years ago, it would have been unusual for two showrunners with Levitan’s and Lloyd’s experience to team up. Such partnerships are usually reserved for nonwriting producers (Carsey-Werner, Werner-Gold-Miller, etc.) Levitan was based at 20th for years, most recently producing “Stacked” for the studio. He’s partnered with various scribes over the years on shows such as “Oliver Beene” and “Greg the Bunny,” but he has also worked solo. By contrast, Lloyd has long been partnered with Joe Keenan, most recently teaming with him to create the CBS laffer “Out of Practice.” After the Eye canceled “Practice,” however, Keenan accepted a gig on “Desperate Housewives” (Daily Variety, May 24). After starting on “The Golden Girls,” Lloyd spent two seasons on “Wings” and then spent the better part of a decade on “Frasier.”
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