Writer signs two-year deal with studio

Rising scribe Carlos Coto, who recently joined Fox’s upcoming action drama “Drive” as co-exec producer, has sealed an overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV.

Deal, pegged in the low seven figures, is for two years, with an option for a third. Coto has been tapped for series services (on “Drive” if it’s back on the air next season, or on another existing show) as well as new development.

Coto’s relationship with 20th stretches back to mid-1990s thriller “The Pretender,” for which he wrote for four years. More recently, Coto was a co-exec producer on 20th’s “Standoff,” which aired on Fox this season.

“We find that his name comes up all the time here when we’re thinking about staffing,” said 20th Century Fox TV prexy Gary Newman. “As we considered bringing him on ‘Drive,’ coming off of ‘Standoff,’ it occurred to us that this is a guy we ought to have on our roster of writers.

“He’ll support key shows and also be given a shot to develop his own shows and ideas,” Newman said. “We’re really pleased to firm up an ongoing relationship with him.”

Coto said the deal with 20th brings him “full circle.”

“All of these people I’ve known and worked with,” he said. “It felt like the right place.”

Coto developed a relationship with “Drive” creator Tim Minear when Minear briefly worked on “Standoff” earlier this season. Coto’s “Standoff” exec producer Craig Silverstein also started working on “Drive”; as a result, Coto was quickly considered to help shape the midseason drama.

“The stars all aligned,” Coto said.

Coto has penned a few pilots in the past but has more recently focused on first-year shows. As a result, the writer is looking forward to getting back into the development game.

“I’m looking for a balance between genre and relatability,” he said. “Genre stuff that’s grounded — cool stuff with a soul. I’m a guy who likes to get in there and start telling stories.”

Coto said he’s interested in telling “some cool Latino stories, which have yet to be told” and setting a project in his native Florida.

Scribe said he’s also looking at a project that “bridges the game between interactive, the Internet and TV … because I’ve been in all of those worlds.”

Coto began his career as a reporter for the Miami Herald. He moved to L.A. to write for TV but wound up working on computer games for Activision (creating the popular “Spycraft”).

He eventually made his way back to TV; other credits include “The Dead Zone,” “NCIS” and last season’s “Invasion.”

Coto also co-wrote the HBO miniseries “Enrique’s Journey,” based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning Los Angeles Times news series, and consulted on the HBO telepic “For Love of Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story.”

Coto is repped by the Rothman Brecher Agency.

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