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ABC, Franklin ink pilot deal

ABC has ordered a Universal TV comedy pilot starring musician Kirk Franklin and executive produced by “Moesha’s” Ralph Farquhar.

Franklin will star as an ex-con who runs a church choir as a condition of his parole in the vein of “Trading Places.” The comedy could be a contender for a midseason or fall slot, sources say.

Several networks had expressed interest in the project with Franklin, who won a 1997 Grammy Award for Best Soul Gospel album. His first album, “Kirk Franklin and the Family,” went platinum and was the first debut gospel album to ever sell more than one million copies.

Universal inked a deal with Franklin this summer (Daily Variety, Aug. 1), but the studio had no comment on Monday. The deal with ABC was cut by Endeavor and Universal TV president Ken Solomon.

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