The Carsey-Werner Co., the outfit behind such hit comedy series as “Roseanne” and “Grace Under Fire,” has formed a feature film unit and inked Polly Platt to an exclusive production deal.

Platt, who worked on various James L. Brooks movies as exec VP of his production company, Gracie Films, will develop and produce movies through the newly formed Carsey-Werner Moving Pictures. Like C-W’s television operations, the new division will focus principally on comedy.

Principals Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner as well as C-W president Caryn Mandabach will oversee the film arm – a natural extension, they say, of the independent company, which wields enormous clout in the TV industry by virtue of hits “The Cosby Show” and “Roseanne.” That expansion to a “full service” company also includes the recent formation of a syndication wing to distribute its programs.

Full film background

Platt has served in production capacities on the Brooks-directed features “Broadcast News,” “I’ll Do Anything” and “Terms of Endearment.” Platt began her career as a production designer, first on films such as “The Last Picture Show” and “Paper Moon,” directed by her former husband Peter Bogdanovich. She wrote and associate produced Louis Malle’s “Pretty Baby.”

She’s slated to direct the upcoming feature “Velocity” for Danny DeVito’s company and is currently adapting “Map of the World” for Kennedy/Marshall Prods. and Paramount.

Other prominent TV producers, such as Witt-Thomas Prods., have also expanded into features. Carsey-Werner said it will cultivate ties to the creative community, pointing out that its principals – during their tenure as ABC executives – were involved in the first TV series roles for actors such as Robin Williams (“Mork & Mindy”), Billy Crystal (“Soap”) and Tom Hanks (“Bosom Buddies”).