Writers pact with Universal TV

Armstrong, Nandin sign two-year first-look deal

Feature scribe Scot Armstrong and production partner Ravi Nandin have sealed a two-year first-look deal with Universal Media Studios.

The deal presents Armstrong and Nandin with their first-ever TV home. They will exec produce projects under their American Work banner.

Armstrong and Nandin are already behind two current pilots: the NBC laffer “Off Duty,” now in post-production, and the Fox sitcom “Walorsky,” which was recently pushed to the summer. Both are being produced through Universal.

American Work is also developing the hourlong comedy procedural “Privates,” by scribes Scott Aukerman and B.J. Porter.

Armstrong and Nandin said they hope to bring in more comedy feature scribes to try their hand at writing for the smallscreen.

“There’s so much great comedy talent right now that could really shine in a network TV setting,” Armstrong said. “Hopefully we can help guide them.”

Armstrong’s feature credits include writing “Old School,” “Road Trip,” “Semi-Pro,” “Starsky and Hutch” and “The Zookeeper.”

NBC comedy topper Jeff Ingold said it was the success of “Old School” that made the Peacock decide to get into business with Armstrong and Nandin.

” ‘Old School’ was definitely one of those movies that resonated here,” Ingold said. “It tapped into relatable themes and was a big, broad mainstream comedy. We’d been pursuing Scot for a while, but he was busy with the feature thing.”

American Work brought “Off Duty,” written by Jason Mantzoukas, to NBC right before the start of the 2007 writers strike. As a result, it was delayed a year — but the Peacock has been high on the project ever since, Ingold said.

“That’s what started the relationship,” Ingold said. “And they’ve been awesome, from casting through production and now into post.”

After that, Armstrong and Nandin brought “Walorsky,” written by Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka, to NBC U. Universal signed on, but because it was similar in tone to “Off Duty,” NBC passed — allowing the studio to sell it to Fox.

With both projects in the works, Ingold said it made sense to formalize their partnership with the American Work duo.

“Everything they bring us we love,” he said. “They’re focused on comedy, and we are as well. They have broad tastes, and this is a chance to get in business with other feature writers and talent.”

Up next, “Privates” revolves around a dysfunctional family of Burbank-based private eyes who spend more time investigating each other than they do others. Peacock will make a decision on the script this summer.

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