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Belushi abdicating as star of ABC’s ‘King’

NEW YORK – In a blow to ABC’s programming efforts, Jim Belushi is working out a deal to abdicate “It’s Good to Be King,” a sitcom that had been expected to be a midseason replacement. The show, a co-production between Brillstein-Grey and News Corp.’s Twentieth Television, was created by Chuck Lorre and had a 13-episode commitment from the web.

The concept was to make Belushi the owner of a bar in his native Chicago. But there was little cheer over the pilot that was shot. Sources said that Belushi’s character didn’t have enough to do.

Initially, the expectation was that Lorre, who has run such female-star shows as Carsey-Werner’s “Roseanne” and “Cybill,” would rework the concept. The new idea was to focus on a character played by Jon Cryer and a female character, but sources said the new direction didn’t suit Belushi.

Rather than proceed, Belushi opted out. He’s managed by Brillstein-Grey, and sources said they were finalizing his exit from the series.

ABC has a partnership with Brillstein-Grey and will have an ownership stake in the show if it goes forward.

ABC and Brillstein-Grey have had a tough relationship as of late. Last year, the Alphabet web decided not to pick up “The Jeff Foxworthy Show,” which went to NBC instead. Then ABC was miffed when B&G took “The Naked Truth,” which had been on ABC last season, to NBC as a midseason show.

Belushi still wants to star in a sitcom, and it is possible that Brillstein-Grey will shop him to NBC and CBS, which had been interested when he made the ABC deal, sources said.

In the meantime, Belushi has two likely next jobs. He’s expected to star in and produce “From Garbage Man to Gridiron,” a Disney telepic for ABC written and produced by Tim Kelleher about a garbage man who becomes the field goal kicker for the Chicago Bears.

He’s also expected to join Dan Aykroyd and John Goodman in “Blues Brothers 2000,” a John Landis-directed sequel to the pic that made his late brother John a movie star. That script is by Landis and Aykroyd and could be in production by next summer. ABC declined comment.

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