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Turteltaub inks deal with CBS Par TV

'National Treasure' director pacts with studio

“National Treasure” helmer Jon Turteltaub is expanding his TV presence, inking a multiyear overall deal with CBS Paramount Network TV.

Turteltaub — exec producer of the Eye’s cult fave “Jericho” — will create, develop and produce drama, comedy and reality series for the studio under his Junction Entertainment banner. Karim Zreik and Dan Shotz run day-to-day business at Junction and serve as co-exec producers on “Jericho.”

Pilot for “Jericho,” which marked Turteltaub’s network TV directing debut, sprang from a 2005 three-for-one deal that CBS Par inked with the helmer (Daily Variety, Dec. 16, 2005). While the drama hasn’t yet blossomed into a hit — and had to rally from the grave to land a second season — execs at the studio and sister net CBS have become big fans of Turteltaub and his team.

“They are smart, collaborative and have been extremely instrumental in making the show a cult favorite,” said CBS Par prexy David Stapf. “They had a clear vision of the direction of the show both in look and story. We’re fortunate that Jon not only brought his sense of humor but his cinematic style to television.”

CBS Entertainment prexy Nina Tassler said she’d pursued Turteltaub for several years before finally landing “Jericho” last season.

“I loved every minute of it,” Tassler said. “Throughout the entire experience, Jon and his talented team have impressed me with their passion and dedication.”

Turteltaub said he chose to pact with CBS Par largely because of his relationships with Stapf and Tassler, adding that he and his Junction execs have been given “a quick and thorough education in how to produce television: Be nice, be honest, and work harder than you’ve ever worked in your life.”

Helmer also emphasized that Zreik and Shotz, who’ve been with him for the past seven years, have been essential elements in running Junction.

“Without Dan and Karim, there’s no company — it’s just me sitting around in my underwear wanting to be in showbiz,” Turteltaub said. “These guys make things happen.”

Under the CBS Par deal, Zreik and Shotz will serve as co-exec producers on all future Junction TV projects.

Turteltaub is in production on “National Treasure: Book of Secrets,” the sequel to the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced adventure pic. On the film side, Junction remains based at Disney, where the company has had a first-look deal since 1996.

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