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‘Hill’ topper to laff for WB

Daniels tapped to create live action sitcom

Continuing its search for a mainstream comedy hit, the WB network has signed “King of the Hill” scribe-exec producer Greg Daniels to create a new live-action laffer for the 2000-01 season.

Twentieth Century Fox Television is producing the skein through its overall deal with Daniels.

Show, his first stab at a live-action sitcom, will be set in Gotham and inspired by Daniels’ memories of growing up there.

“It’s not based on my family as much as my experiences — the people who aren’t my relatives (and) the world they’re in,” he told Daily Variety.

Since most family shows are set in suburbia, Daniels hopes the city setting of his latest project will set it apart from the slew of family laffers now in the works. And skein will revolve around “all members of the family” rather than just the parents or kids.

Ensemble approach

“This is an opportunity to play a family show more like an ensemble,” he said.

Daniels is married to WB entertainment prexy Susanne Daniels, a relationship that has helped the scribe get to know the Frog’s top execs very well.

“They are an extremely smart team with great taste,” he said in a statement released by the WB. “I’m looking forward to working with them.

“Help — she made me write this,” Daniels added.

WB exec veepee of programming Jordan Levin said the Daniels deal fits in well with the Frog’s stated goal of beefing up its comedy development for next season.

“This is yet another example of the extent to which we’ve affirmed our growing commitment to first-rate comedy by partnering with the top comedy showrunners in the business,” Levin said. “With ‘King of the Hill,’ Greg has created one of the most original half-hour family series in recent years. … We feel fortunate to be working with Greg on developing his first live-action series.”

In recent months, Frog has pacted with several big-name comedy producers for future skeins, including Bruce Helford (“Drew Carey”), Harold Ramis (“Animal House”), the Weitz Bros. (“American Pie”), Darren Star (“Sex and the City”) and Alexa Junge (“Friends.”)

Pact also illustrates 20th Century TV’s continued desire to be in business with all webs, not just Fox Broadcasting, said studio toppers Dana Walden and Gary Newman.

Expanding relationship

Twentieth and the WB “have enjoyed a tremendous relationship on the drama side with ‘Angel,’ ‘Buffy’ and ‘Roswell,’ so the notion of expanding that relationship with a new comedy series from a writer of Greg’s caliber is particularly exciting,” the duo said.

Daniels and “King” co-creator Mike Judge had been committed to developing a one-hour drama about the music industry for Fox Broadcasting (Daily Variety, Oct. 3, 1999). While the project snagged a put pilot deal, show is now not likely to be produced this pilot season.

In addition to “King,” Daniels has been a scribe and co-exec producer of “The Simpsons” and a writer on “Saturday Night Live.” He has earned Emmys for work on all three shows, as well as a Writers Guild Award for a seg of “Seinfeld” he penned.

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