TV writer-producer and former teen idol Shaun Cassidy has inked a new three-year drama development deal with Barry Diller’s Studios USA worth an estimated $6 million.
Cassidy’s marks the first major writer pact Studios USA has made since David Kissinger was upped to programming prexy, and it’s an unusually large deal for the generally fiscally conservative production company.
“When we have the level of conviction and confidence we do in Shaun, it’s worth the price we’re paying,” Kissinger told Daily Variety.
Insiders say Diller courted Cassidy after several other studios expressed interest in him. Cassidy already has a 13-episode drama commitment from Diller’s USA Network cabler, and he hopes to have the project ready to air by next January.
“He is really emblematic of the kind of producer we want to be in business with,” Kissinger added. “He has a lot of experience, but he still behaves like a young writer. He has big ambitions creatively and in terms of the variety of things he wants to do.”
Cassidy created the CBS drama “American Gothic” and co-created the Fox drama “Roar” and NBC’s “Players.” Last season, his Fox drama “Hollyweird” was scrapped before making it to air because of creative differences.
Before his TV producing career, Cassidy became a teen heartthrob starring in the 1977-1979 ABC series “The Hardy Boys Mysteries,” and he had a hit recording career, which spawned two top 10 singles and an album that was for a time the biggest selling solo debut in history. He also starred in a couple of Broadway productions.
Cassidy’s Studios USA deal was brokered by the Kaplan-Stahler-Gumer Agency and attorney Bob Myman.