By George, ABC’s got Jason Alexander.
Alphabet web Thursday nailed the rights to “Bob Patterson,” a half-hour laffer in which the former “Seinfeld” sidekick will star as an over-the-top motivational speaker whose own life is extremely dysfunctional. ABC has made a pilot commitment to the project, agreeing to a seven-figure penalty if the 20th Century Fox Television/Touchstone Television co-production is not ordered to series.
Former “Ellen” exec producer Tim Doyle will serve as showrunner for the project. Doyle, Peter Tilden and Ira Behr will write the pilot script; Alexander is also on board as an exec producer.
Alexander’s deal comes a week after another ex-“Seinfeld” regular, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, pacted with NBC for a half-hour comedy pilot.
ABC Entertainment Television co-chairman Lloyd Braun said the network and Alexander are aware that any project a “Seinfeld” alum does will be compared to his previous gig.
“We know the bar is high with Jason, but he has a unique voice, and we’re really confident we can do something very special with him,” Braun said. “He comes off of a fantastic television show, and we all spent a lot of time talking about how the expectations for him are very, very high. We all want to do a show that meets those expectations — no one more so than Jason.”
Deal for “Bob Patterson” took a while to negotiate in part because of the decision to bring on Doyle, who currently has an overall deal with Touchstone. Alexander already had a multiyear pact with 20th, requiring the pilot to be a co-production between the two studios.
Braun credited lawyer Michael Gendler with helping seal the pact.
“Michael Gendler was instrumental in making this happen. He played a key role in packaging and negotiating what turned out to be a very complicated deal,” Braun said.
In addition to “Bob Patterson,” Doyle is also exec producing “Straight White Male,” a comedy pilot from 20th in development at FX.