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Murphy popular with WBTV

Will write, develop, produce for Frog

HOLLYWOOD — “Popular” creator/exec producer Ryan Murphy has been recruited by a new clique, inking a two-year overall deal with Warner Bros. Television and Tollin-Robins Prods. that includes a put pilot commitment from the WB Network.

Pact calls for Murphy to write, develop and produce both half-hour and hourlong programs for the studios. The first project from the deal will be an hourlong comedy for the Frog’s 2001-02 development season.

Murphy may also team with “Sex and the City” author Candace Bushnell for a pilot, insiders said.

“Popular” was a surprise success for the WB last season, quickly establishing itself as a powerhouse with teen girls despite its slotting opposite NBC’s “Friends.” Net has renewed the Touchstone-produced hour for a second season, moving it to Fridays at 9 p.m.

Murphy said he talked to numerous studios about inking a deal, but that he ultimately chose WBTV because of WBTV topper Peter Roth.

Murphy said he’s also keen on pacting with Mike Tollin, Brian Robbins and Joe DaVola of Tollin/Robbins. Robbins directed the pilot for “Popular,” even though the show is from Disney and not Warner Bros.

The Murphy pact reps the first major overall deal Tollin/Robbins has struck since the company inked an overall deal with WBTV in February 1999.

Murphy is repped by attorney Craig Emmanuel and WMA.