Granada, NBC toast deal for pilot of ‘Small Beer’

CBS may get 'Surprise' series

NEW YORK — Granada Entertainment USA has signed a partnership deal with NBC Studios for the pilot of a proposed hourlong series for early 2000 called “Small Beer.”

That’s the word from Scott Siegler, president of Granada Entertainment USA, who says the pilot, a comedy-drama, deals with a group of people who leave the big city and move to the Northwest. They end up taking over a failing microbrewery.

The writer of “Small Beer,” Mike Bullen, also wrote the hourlong pilot “Cold Feet” for NBC, based on a British series about the tangled relationships of three couples.

NBC will decide on whether to add “Cold Feet” to its 1999-2000 primetime schedule within the next 10 days. Granada and NBC Studios are partners on the series: They’ll share equally both the production cost and any revenues that come from international markets and from future domestic syndication, according to Dan Pasternack, VP of creative affairs for Granada Entertainment USA.

Siegler also said the CBS special “Surprise, Surprise, Surprise,” a reality hour hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford, could spawn either a weekly series on CBS or a group of sweep-period specials.

The special, a joint venture with LMNO Prods. (“Kids Say the Darndest Things,” “Guiness Book of Records”), runs May 14, and Gifford has signed a long-term contract to host the show if it stays in production, Siegler said. It’s based on a current British series that premiered 10 years ago.

Granada’s most recent primetime series were the ABC drama “Cracker” and the CBS sitcom “Holding the Baby,” both of which got pinkslips before they completed their first season.