Josh Brand, co-creator of the much-lauded TV dramas “Northern Exposure” and “I’ll Fly Away,” has inked a one-year extension of his development pact with Columbia TriStar TV.

“Josh’s brilliance and track record speak for themselves,” said Sarah Timberman, exec VP of series development for Col TriStar TV. “We would’ve done just about anything to keep him at the studio.”

Brand has a handful of TV projects percolating for the 2000-01 season. “In the Loop,” an offbeat hour for CBS, revolves around three guys who live in the same Chicago apartment building. The main characters don’t know one another yet each affects the lives of the other two in subtle and unusual ways. Brand is collaborating on the project, still in the script stage, with scribe Michael Angeli.

Brand also is working with sports agent David Faulk, the longtime rep of Michael Jordan, on a show that would focus on the front office of an expansion NBA team. The idea is to have some of Faulk’s NBA clients appear as themselves in the show, which is being shopped to webs and cablers.

“I’ve always been drawn to what the networks might consider ‘difficult’ material — we were lucky to get ‘Northern Exposure’ on the air,” Brand said. “I try to pick my spots with projects I really want to do, things I like that are different enough and interesting enough to get on the air.”

Brand is repped by United Talent Agency.