Littlefield hops to Par for overall tube deal

Former Peacock prexy to develop, produce comedy and drama series

After 21 years, Warren Littlefield is severing his remaining ties to NBC, inking a new overall deal with Paramount Network Television.

Former Peacock entertainment prexy has moved his Littlefield Co. production shingle from NBC Studios to Par, where he’ll develop and produce comedy and drama series for the Viacom-owned studio. Multiyear pact is effective immediately.

Littlefield signed a two-year production pact with NBC in January 1999, shortly after exiting his prexy post. Deal yielded pilots at Fox and NBC, but no series.

Ankling NBC after 21 years hasn’t been as hard as it might seem, Littlefield said.

“One of the lessons I’ve learned from many years in this business is: Change is good,” Littlefield told Daily Variety. “After 20 years, it was time to move on.”

As for Par, Littlefield noted his long relationship with Par TV Group topper Kerry McCluggage and network TV chief Garry Hart as a key reason for his decision to pact with Par. Trio worked together on shows such as “Miami Vice,” “Frasier” and “JAG,” though the latter skein didn’t become a hit until it moved to CBS after being canceled by Littlefield’s NBC.

“I’ve had a relationship with Kerry and Garry that goes back forever,” he said. “They were wonderful in their pursuit, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work with people I like and respect, and a studio filled with so much talent.”

Mutual admiration

Hart called Littlefield “one of this industry’s most respected executives. (He) brings to this division an enormous breadth of experience, resources and talent. We are thrilled to have his creativity here at Paramount.”

Littlefield said he hopes to work with existing Par scribes and thesps as well as develop new talent.

“I think where I made my most mistakes on the broadcast side was I went to the same people too many times,” he said. “I want to find people who are hungry for their first hit and get them on the air.”

Littlefield and his staff will remain based in Beverly Hills.

During his long run at NBC, Littlefield programmed a slew of hit series, including “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” and “Mad About You.” He was also a vocal advocate of signing Jay Leno to replace Johnny Carson as host of “The Tonight Show.”