Pact allows producer to mentor young writers

As her hit TNT series heads into its second season, “Saving Grace” creator Nancy Miller has sealed a new overall deal with Fox TV Studios.

Pact keeps Miller firmly in charge of “Saving Grace” and also includes new development and a component that allows her to oversee and mentor young writers.

“Nancy’s a great weapon that we’ll be able to use in a multipurpose way,” said Fox TV Studios programming exec VP David Madden. “With ‘Grace’ she wrote a script that had so much complexity and emotional range and depth that she got an actress on the level of Holly Hunter to commit to the part. That was a tribute to Nancy. We think the show will be around a long time, and so does TNT.”

Deal marks the second major pact Fox TV Studios has sealed in recent weeks; Fox TV Studios also recently signed an overall with Matt Nix, creator of another cable hit from the shingle, “Burn Notice” (Daily Variety, May 21).

“We have two cable shows in ‘Saving Grace’ and ‘Burn Notice’ that are very successful, and we didn’t want to let either writer go,” Madden said.

Shooting just wrapped on the fourth seg of “Saving Grace’s” 15-episode second season.

“My focus first and foremost is going to be ‘Saving Grace,'” Miller said. “Every script that comes out of my office I want to rise to the status of Holly Hunter.”

Miller said she also felt loyalty to Fox TV Studios, which revived “Saving Grace” after it was let go by Spelling TV (shortly before Spelling shut its doors altogether). Scribe said she has “several passion projects that I hope to lay on David’s desk real soon.”

“I love projects that are kind of taboo,” she said. “My last series was about race, and before that, death. And we talk about God and religion on ‘Saving Grace.’ And there are strong female characters in everything I do.”

As for mentoring other writers, Miller said she still “has nightmares” about the exec producer with whom she was paired early in her career, and she feels a need to shepherd young scribes and guide them through the TV minefields.

Miller created the Lifetime hit “Any Day Now,” as well as the skeins “Leaving L.A.” and “The Round Table.” She also has served as a co-exec producer on TNT’s “The Closer” and NBC’s “The Profiler”; her other credits include “Against the Grain” and “Law & Order.”

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