'Modern' director signs multi-year pact
20th Century Fox TV has sealed a new multiyear overall deal with Jason Winer, the helmer behind ABC’s upcoming comedy “Modern Family.”Under the new pact, Winer will continue to serve as a director and co-exec producer on “Modern Family,” which is produced by 20th. “It was one of those rare moments where we took a terrific script and put it in the hands of the right guy,” said 20th Century Fox TV chairman Gary Newman. “He did the documentary style with a real subtle touch.” Helmer is set up to direct six more episodes of the show’s initial 13-episode order. “I want to help get that show off to a good start and capture what many people felt was so special about the pilot,” Winer said. “Modern Family” was shot quickly and “very efficiently,” Winer said. The director is a believer in shooting single-camera comedies — of which “Modern Family” is one — with the pacing style of a multicamera sitcom. “Part of the fun has gone out of single-camera TV,” he said, noting that the slower pace of shooting single-camera comedies sometimes takes the “spontaneity and magic” out of some of those shows’ laughs. Winer has also developed a reputation for shooting single-camera comedies at a reduced budget. He previously lensed the low-budget pilot “Giants of Radio” for CBS, hiring improv actors to star in the unconventional project. Beyond his directing, Winer will develop new series along with his writing partner, Ryan Raddatz. “His involvement allows me to move development projects forward while still providing services for ‘Modern Family,’ ” Winer explained Winer, who’s also an actor, originally came to the attention of 20th after shooting the short film “The Adventures of Big Handsome Guy and His Little Friend” for $20,000. “Big Handsome Guy” was later reshot as a Fox pilot. He’s been mostly based at 20th since then through a series of deals. His other credits include the ABC pilot “This Might Hurt,” and he’s also helmed episodes of “Samantha Who?” and “Kath and Kim.”
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