Fox, Par woo Caron skein

Production could begin as early as January

Fox is close to inking a deal with Paramount Network Television for a new hourlong romantic comedy from “Moonlighting” creator Glenn Gordon Caron.

If a pact is finalized, production on the series could begin as early as January, with an eye on completing 12 episodes for the 2001-02 season — before potential writers’ and actors’ strikes start next summer. Deal comes as NBC finalizes a pre-strike 13-episode order to Studios USA for a third “Law & Order” series; episodes would be filmed now for broadcast during the 2001-02 season (Daily Variety, Sept. 6.)

While details are still being hammered out, Fox is expected to purchase up to 13 segs of the Caron show at a premium license fee, with a provision allowing the net to significantly reduce the order at a later date. Fox will also take a small ownership stake in the show.

Caron’s latest effort is expected to focus on a young couple who also work together, much like the David and Maddie duo at the core of “Moonlighting.” One source familiar with the pitch said the concept puts Caron back in his series element.

‘Again’ to series TV

Scribe-producer’s most recent skein was the critically admired but short-lived CBS hour “Now and Again.” Despite solid critical response and some encouraging ratings, Eye axed the show in May, in part because of its higher-than-usual production costs. “Now and Again” repped Caron’s return to TV after a long hiatus. The creator had stayed out of TV programming for most of the 1990s.

Before “Moonlighting’s” 1985-89 run on ABC, Caron was a writer and producer on detective drama “Remington Steele.”

Reps for Paramount and Fox declined comment.

Caron is repped by Endeavor.

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