Junction signs two-year deal to develop series

Jon Turteltaub’s Junction Entertainment has signed a two-year overall deal extension at CBS Television Studios to develop series for the Eye.

The smallscreen deal comes just as Turteltaub finished reupping his feature deal at Disney for another three years. He most recently helmed Nicolas Cage starrer “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” for the Mouse, and he’s starting to work on a third “National Treasure” pic. Turteltaub helmed and produced the first two films in the franchise.

The CBS Television Studios deal comes after Junction produced dramas “Harper’s Island” and “Jericho” for the Eye. Turteltaub has already made three deals for pilot scripts for hourlong dramas timed for fall 2010.

Ilene Chaiken (“The L Word”) will write “Deliverance Dane,” based on the Katherine Howe bestseller “The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane,” a novel about a young woman who realizes she descends from a long line of witches dating back to 1692 Salem.

Turteltaub’s “National Treasure” and “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” scribes Cormac and Marianne Wibberley are writing an untitled buddy cop show about two homicide detectives who clash to such an extent in their long partnership that they’re sent to a marriage counselor.

“They are constantly fighting, unbearable to be around when they are together, like a married couple,” Turteltaub said.

CBS Television Studios has also set an untitled family law show about a dysfunctional clan of lawyers who all work at the same firm. Michael Reisz (“Boston Legal”) is writing the pilot.

Turteltaub, who directed both the “Harper’s Island” and “Jericho” pilots, is likely to do the same with the new pilots. At least that’s the hope of CBS Television Studios president David Stapf, who made the new deal.

“Jon has the combination of commercial instincts and artistic sensibility, and the hope is that he will direct anything he wants to direct,” Stapf said.

As for his future feature endeavors at Disney, Turteltaub said he was still reeling from the news of chairman Dick Cook’s abrupt exit. He’d grown close to Cook after directing his last nine features for the studio.

“I’ve never seen people react so emotionally as they have about Dick,” Turteltaub said. “There is a sense of sadness in terms of losing a great boss, and while I don’t think any filmmaker or actor feels they can’t possibly do their jobs unless a certain executive is in place, there was a feeling of safety and ease that is gone.”

Turteltaub, who runs Junction Entertainment with execs Dan Shotz and Karim Zreik, said they are mobilizing several features, including some he hopes will be done with indie financing that would allow him to get into the pic ownership game.

One is “River of Doubt,” a fact-based drama being scripted by “Jericho” scribes Stephen Scaia and Matthew Federman, about a post-White House adventure that Teddy Roosevelt experienced in the Amazon.

Turteltaub is repped by WME and manager David Lonner.

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