‘Shark’ chief in Fox’s tank

Biederman signs deal with studio

Twentieth Century Fox TV will be swimming with “Shark” creator-showrunner Ian Biederman for up to three more years.

Studio has signed the scribe to a rich two-year overall deal, with an option for a third. Deal, his first overall pact with 20th, keeps Biederman aboard as “Shark” showrunner and includes a provision for developing projects.

Move to lock up Biederman’s services comes after James Woods starrer “Shark,” a collaboration between 20th and Imagine Television, marked one of the few frosh success stories of the 2006-07 campaign. It’s also the only CBS series from last fall to receive a full-season renewal.”Ian has created a larger-than-life character in Sebastian Stark that not only earned him a pilot order from CBS but captured the imagination of the amazing Jimmy Woods, a feature actor who’d never done a television series,” said 20th Century Fox TV prexy Dana Walden. “The result was this year’s most watched new drama and a hugely important series to the studio and to CBS.”

Biederman said 20th has been “supportive all the way through” the development and evolution of his series. “They and Imagine were at the ground level trying to make things work,” he added.

Scribe said his goal for season two of “Shark” is to broaden the show beyond its procedural roots.

“We want to make it a combination of provocative drama and interesting characters,” he said. “We want to make it not just a procedural.”

Among the planned changes come fall: Jeri Ryan’s character will ditch the D.A.’s office and join the legal team headed by Woods’ character. “These two guys have a great chemistry, and we want to put them in a lot more scenes together,” he said.

Biederman also wants the show to be more of an ensemble, and thus plans to give the supporting cast meatier storylines. The character of Woods’ ex-wife will also return.

During a phone interview with Daily Variety last week, Biederman was on a break from … jury duty.

“It’s bitterly ironic,” the scribe said of his unplanned detour into the real criminal justice system.

Biederman had thought he wouldn’t land on a jury given that he writes a TV show which paints prosecutors in such a positive and heroic light. Instead, he ended up on a trial that, as of last Friday, was expected to take nearly a week to complete.

Before creating “Shark,” Biederman worked on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Crossing Jordan” and “Party of Five.” His first big TV gig was a three-year stint on 20th/David E. Kelley-produced “Chicago Hope.”

Biederman is repped by Paradigm.

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