Fox inks rare overall pact

White Collar” creator Jeff Eastin, whose USA Network series made its second season return Tuesday night, has scored an overall deal with Fox TV Studios.

Pact keeps Eastin firmly in charge of “White Collar,” which is produced by Fox TV Studios, and includes new development down the line.

It’s a rare overall deal for FTVS, which has just one other pact similar to this one, with “Burn Notice” exec producer Matt Nix. Fox TV Studios scripted programming exec VP David Madden said the contract repped a vote of confidence for “White Collar,” as well as a reflection of the studio’s and USA’s belief in Eastin as its showrunner.

“Having already seen the first half a dozen (of ‘White Collar’s’ new episodes), I really think the show is even better this season,” Madden said. “We didn’t want Jeff to go away and do something for anybody else. … He’s really blossomed as a showrunner and has found a great tone for the show. He’s managed to blend performance with action, banter and romance, and put it together in a combination that audiences like.”

For Eastin, partnering with Fox TV Studios gave him the opportunity to “keep doing ‘White Collar’ the way we want to do it,” and not feel the pressure to develop until the right moment comes.

“Once the dust settles, I’ll dig out the ideas book and see if something else lends itself to a TV show,” Eastin said. “It’s about finding something else I’m passionate about.

“I appreciate Fox TV Studios for having faith in me to make a deal,” he added. “Especially as they’re few and far between these days.”

In looking toward future output from Eastin, Madden said he’d like to repeat the success FTVS has had with Nix, who went on to create “The Good Guys” for Fox in addition to “Burn Notice.”

Eastin’s credits include the feature “Held Up,” as well as the series “Hawaii” and “Shasta McNasty.”

“White Collar” stars Matt Bomer as a conman who’s allowed to stay out of jail — as long as he helps the FBI catch other criminals.

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