Inside Move: Fox eyes Lorre’s WBTV skein

Offers Frog 13-episode commitment

The bidding for scribe-producer Chuck Lorre’s first series project at Warner Bros. Television has apparently ended before it even began.

In an unusually aggressive, preemptive move, Fox has offered WBTV a 13-episode on-air commitment to a half-hour sitcom to be created by Lorre (“Dharma & Greg,” “Grace Under Fire”) for the 2001-02 season. Deal won’t be signed until after Lorre formally pitches the series to Fox Entertainment topper Gail Berman next week, however, allowing the possibility that the show won’t go forward at Fox.

Fox’s quick action came before WBTV even had a chance to shop Lorre’s first project to other webs.

Details of the project are being kept under wraps. Fox is paying a premium license fee for the series — not surprising given Lorre’s stellar track record in recent years at creating shows that sell well in syndication.

Should Fox and WBTV finalize a deal, Lorre would be reunited with Sandy Grushow, the chairman of the Fox Entertainment Television Group. Grushow, who now has control of the Fox network, oversaw day-to-day operations of 20th Century Fox TV when Lorre was based there.

WBTV signed Lorre to a lucrative four-year overall deal last fall, shelling out mid seven-figures for the scribe’s services.

Reps for WBTV and Fox declined comment.

Lorre is repped by Broder Kurland Webb Uffner.