'Syriana,' 'Traffic' scribe to pen for cable series

Stephen Gaghan is making a concentrated effort to shift into television, signing a cable-specific production deal with Fox 21.

Under the two-year pact, Gaghan will both write and supervise other scribes for various projects. He previously had a pod deal at Twentieth Century Fox TV.

While Gaghan wrote for the small screen earlier in his career on series such as “American Gothic,” “NYPD Blue” and “The Practice,” he shifted to film and penned pics such as “The Alamo,” “Syriana” and “Traffic,” for which he won a screenwriting Oscar.

In recent years, Gaghan has written two TV scripts for broadcast, but neither was picked up for series: Swedish import “Backstrom,” about a homicide detective, and a pilot for NBC (once titled “S.I.L.A.”) that starred Jimmy Smits about the police, crime and politics in Los Angeles.

“Stephen is the kind of high-end talent we want to work with,” said Fox 21 president Bert Salke. “The question for Stephen is, ‘What does he want to do?’ He has a number of options.”

While Salke wasn’t specific about a particular project Gaghan has in mind, the Fox 21 topper added: “The canvas is broad. It’s hard for a drama writer to ignore what’s going on in cable. He feels there’s an edgy show inside of him.”

Gaghan is repped by CAA.

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