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Fox’s ‘Sinbad’ gets new pair of scripters

Michael J. Weithorn and Ralph Farquhar have taken the reins of Touchstone TV’s “The Sinbad Show,” which is scheduled to premiere at 8:30 p.m Sept. 16. on Fox.

Weithorn and Farquhar replace the team of Gary Murphy and Larry Strawther. Strawther and Murphy wrote the first three of “Sinbad’s” 13-episode order.

The hiring of Emmy Award winner Weithorn (whose credits include “Family Ties” and “The Wonder Years”) and Farquhar (“Drexell’s Class” and “Married … With Children”) is significant because the team’s services were pledged to rival Twentieth TV.

Executive vice president of Walt Disney Television DeanValentine told Daily Variety late Wednesday, “In Weithorn and Farquhar we have a combination of skills that are essential to getting ‘The Sinbad Show’ on track.”

Weithorn and Farquhar had developed a Fox mid-season series, “South Central.” The pilot was a bittersweet comedy that harked back to Norman Lear’s “Good Times” in its attempt to wrest humor from inner-city life. Farquhar solicited reviews from major African-American leaders to help sell the show. After CBS passed, Fox picked up “South Central.”

The move from Twentieth to Disney was complicated since Weithorn had an overall deal at Twentieth. Sources familiar with the “Sinbad” situation suggest that Weithorn is being allowed to take a sabbatical from Twentieth while he writes for Disney. In exchange for allowing Weithorn to work at Disney, Twentieth TV has reportedly already received an increased order for “South Central.”

Executives from Twentieth could not be reached for comment.

Last month, Disney called upon Michael Jacobs to polish the new series (Daily Variety, Aug. 4, Sept. 1). But Jacobs’ extensive commitments elsewhere (ABC’s “Boy Meets World,””Where I Live” and “Dinosaurs,” and the feature film “Quiz Show”) meant he would not have been able to devote his full energies to crafting a hit for Sinbad.

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