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Appel inks new deal

'Cleveland' co-creator reups with 20th Century Fox TV

Now that “Cleveland” rocks for Fox, series co-creator Rich Appel has inked a new overall deal at 20th Century Fox TV.

Multiyear pact will keep Appel on “The Cleveland Show,” which has already received a sophomore season order from Fox. Appel will also develop other projects as time allows.

But “Cleveland” — the top-rated new series among adults 18-34 and teens — has Appel’s full attention for the foreseeable future.

“Right now I’m happy to devote 90% of my time to ‘Cleveland’ and 10 percent to my family,” Appel quipped.

Appel has been associated with 20th Century Fox TV since 1994, when he joined “The Simpsons” as a staff writer. Since then, he has worked on every one of the studio’s animated series — which also include “King of the Hill,” “Family Guy” and “American Dad.”

20th Century Fox TV chairman Gary Newman called Appel “the consummate showrunner.”

“There are a lot of reasons why Rich has been at the studio for so long,” Newman said. “First, he’s just wickedly funny. But we’ve always been impressed with how he mentors people on staff. And on top of everything else, he’s got a really great attitude.”

Newman credited Appel’s executive skills as well, and said the idea of Appel supervising a new generation of young writers is appealing to the studio.

For Appel, the scribe said he appreciated the rarity of having a studio, network and creative team “that are all on the same page.”

Appel also enthused over the show’s ability to attract a guest cast even before launch. He pointed to the stars voicing young Rollo’s “entourage” — Will.i.am, T-Pain and Carl Reiner.

“How can you not love a job where you go from Will.i.am and T-Pain to Carl Reiner and back?” he said.

The “Cleveland” staff is already working on season two’s 16th episode, which goes to table read this week. Meanwhile, episode 14 from season one airs next Sunday — a reminder of animation’s lengthy production process.

“They gave us a back nine and then a second season order before we came on the air,” he said. “We know how rare that kind of support is… This honestly is the best job I ever had.”

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