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Norm warms to TV

Macdonald talking sitcom with several studios

Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Norm Macdonald is in early talks with several Hollywood studios about starring in his own TV sitcom.

Three studios — Warner Bros. TV, Disney and Twentieth Century Fox — have expressed initial interest in the comedian, and sources say a deal could be reached in the next few weeks.

At the moment, Warner Bros. TV appears to have an edge. The studio is offering to pair Macdonald with one of its top comedy writers, Bruce Helford, the executive producer of ABC’s “Drew Carey Show.”

Old friends

Helford and Macdonald, who worked together when Helford was executive producer of ABC’s “Roseanne” and Macdonald was a writer on the hit series, are friends and have already been kicking around ideas for a sitcom.

The Macdonald comedy is just an idea at this point, so no network is attached. But NBC will certainly be ruled out, given Macdonald’s history with that network’s West Coast president, Don Ohlmeyer.

After Ohlmeyer removed Macdonald as anchor of “Saturday Night Live’s” “Weekend Update” segment, Macdonald blasted the NBC exec during appearances on Howard Stern’s radio show and on “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Ohlmeyer then retaliated by refusing to air ads for Macdonald’s film “Dirty Work” on NBC, although Ohlmeyer’s decision was later overruled by East Coast brass.

Alphabet web possibilities

If Macdonald makes a deal with Warner Bros. TV and teams with Helford, the series will likely go to ABC, given Helford’s relationship with the network through the “Drew Carey Show.” A Disney deal also would likely land Macdonald at ABC.

Macdonald is pursuing a TV deal at a time when his box office muscle is still in question. “Dirty Work” underperformed, prompting MGM to pull the plug on his next film “Ballbusted,” which was subsequently picked up by Universal.

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