Brillstein reups with ABC Studios

Duo pact for three years

Brillstein Entertainment Partners Television has cut a new three-year pact with ABC Studios.

ABC Studios and Brillstein fielded a budding hit last year in the ABC comedy “Samantha Who?,” which snared acting Emmy noms for thesps Christina Applegate and Jean Smart in its first strike-shortened season. Brillstein also is the home of ABC/ABC Studios mainstay “According to Jim.”

Although the shingle is known primarily for its success in comedy (“The Sopranos” notwithstanding), Brillstein is looking to branch out more than it has in recent years with unscripted shows and cable programming.

Its development roster includes an unscripted vehicle toplined by Bob Saget that is in the negotiations stage at A&E and a remake of an Israeli drama series, “A Touch Away,” set up at HBO with “Six Feet Under” scribe Kate Robin attached.

Brillstein’s TV wing is also putting renewed emphasis on working with the management side to assemble projects from scratch around clients and attaching talent, whether Brillstein-repped or not, at the earliest stages.

“We’re doing a lot more old-school-style packaging and developing projects from the ground up,” said Brillstein Entertainment Partners CEO Jon Liebman. “It’s an advantage to have a meaningfully developed project with talent attached when you go to sell to network or cable.”

One such project in the works for ABC is a relationship comedy from multihyphenate David Talbert, writer and helmer of the Ice Cube-Katt Williams comedy “First Sunday,” and a Brillstein client.

Brillstein intends to keep its focus tight on a handful of projects — it’s not looking for volume in its development slate. And its first priority is to supply shows to ABC and ABC Studios, which has been a great fit since Brillstein first aligned with the studio in 2005, said Brillstein TV chief Peter Traugott.

“The television business is difficult, to say the least right now, but within these challenges ABC Studios has been very supportive in the way they run their business,” he said. “Whenever we’re facing cutbacks or budget issues, everything from them is, ‘How do we make sure we protect the creative?’ ”

With the new pact in place, Liebman and Traugott said they are looking to bring another creative exec to work alongside exec veep Becky Clements and manager SydneeBernstein.

Other Brillstein/ABC Studios projects in the early stage of development at ABC include:

n “The Out-Laws,” an adult family comedy from Kit Boss (“Lucky Louie,” “King of the Hill”);

n “Helping Me Help Myself,” a single-camera half-hour from “Ugly Betty” scribes Tracy Poust and Jon Kinally.

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