Kurtzman, Orci lock tube deal
Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the prolific writer-producers who shined at the B.O. last summer with “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” and “Star Trek,” have been recruited into the 20th Century Fox TV fold.
Kurtzman and Orci, who co-created and serve as consulting producers on the Fox drama “Fringe,” have sealed an exclusive three-year overall deal with the studio.
As part of the pact, the duo will bring in show ideas, recruit writers to work under their wing and also create their own projects, either by themselves or with others, at 20th.
The duo were heavily courted by multiple studios and networks before opting to sign with 20th.
“We’ve been pursuing this deal for quite some time,” said 20th Century Fox TV chairman Dana Walden. “They would elevate any type of development. But they were very thoughtful about the kind of commitment they were making. They didn’t want to overpromise.”
Kurtzman and Orci are fast becoming a rare breed of writer-producers simultaneously juggling successful film and TV careers.
“We’ve been excited about going back into TV, but wanted to wait until the feature side of our company was on its feet,” Kurtzman said.
Now that they feel well-established in the big screen world, the duo said they were ready to do the same with TV. Kurtzman and Orci plan to hire a head of development shortly, and start meeting with both new and well-establish writers about forging various collaborations.
“One of the things that drew us back to TV was the idea that we could do the kind of stories that we’re not known for in features,” said Orci, noting their penchant for genre-oriented feature fare. “From sci-fi to procedurals to medical genres, those are all the kind of shows that we love.”
On the TV side, the pair are already overseeing CBS’ revamp of “Hawaii Five-O,” which was recently ordered to pilot. And they’re exec producing a new animated version of “Transformers” for the Hub, the new Discovery/Hasbro joint venture that is set to replace Discovery Kids later this year.Up until now, Kurtzman and Orci have not been aligned with a studio or network — hence their ability to hop from “Alias” at ABC/Touchstone to “Fringe” for Fox and Warner Bros. TV and “Hawaii Five-O” at CBS/CBS TV Studios.
The duo said they were attacted to 20th thanks to the kind of careers that producers like Steven Bochco and David E. Kelley carved out there, as well as the studio’s more recent relationships with Ryan Murphy and Shawn Ryan.
“Gary (Newman) and Dana know that the business of TV begins and ends with the written word,” Kurtzman said.
Kurtzman and Orci first made their mark in TV on the syndie hit “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.”
On the feature side, the duo was behind “The Legend of Zorro,” “Mission Impossible III,” both “Transformers” movies and the recent “Star Trek” reboot from frequent collaborator J.J. Abrams.
Films they’re attached to include the upcoming “Star Trek” sequel from Paramount, DreamWorks’ “Cowboys and Aliens” and “The Twenty-Eighth Amendment,” from Warner Bros.
Kurtzman and Orci’s deal with 20th officially starts on March 1.