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Studio going with the Flody

Potential fall '02 series includes laffer 'Eight Simple Rules'

Former NBC programming exec Flody Suarez has set up shop at Touchstone Television, inking a two-year overall deal with the studio under his FlodyCo. banner.

Suarez — who as head of TV for helmer Barry Sonnenfeld’s production company developed and produces Fox laffer “The Tick” — will develop and serve as non-writing producer on comedy and drama programming for Touchstone. He also may come on board as producer on skeins already in the works at the studio.

Caitlin Mauney will be manager of development for Suarez’s company.

FlodyCo. has lined up a slew of potential series for fall 2002-03, including a laffer from helmer Tom Shadyac (“Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”) dubbed “Eight Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter.”

Touchstone prexy Steve McPherson praised Suarez for “his really great taste” and said the deal for FlodyCo., along with similar production pacts, repped “a fruitful way for us to build our business.”

“It allows us more tentacles into the industry,” McPherson said. “(Suarez) tapes into creative talent that a lot of times goes unnoticed. ‘The Tick’ is a great example of taking an almost unnoticed animated property and turning it into a very funny primetime show.”

Suarez said he wanted to come to Touchstone because of its successful track record, pointing to skeins such as “Scrubs,” “The Amazing Race” and “Alias.”

“They’re not cookie-cutter shows at all,” Suarez said. “Touchstone is willing to take chances, and for a producer, that’s the best scenario.”

New type of producer

Suarez reps a growing breed in the TV biz: the non-writing exec producer. With nets cutting staff and trimming scribes, Suarez says “there’s a greater need” for execs like himself.

“In my case, I have both a marketing and a network background, as well as a few years’ experience producing shows,” he said. “So what I bring is experience. With six networks and cable, people are hiring writers who are more green — they have fresh, original ideas but no idea how to navigate the waters.”

As for projects in the works at FlodyCo., “Eight Simple Rules” is a half-hour family laffer about a father and his two teen daughters, based on a book by Tom Cameron. Tracy Gamble (“According to Jim”) will write the pilot, with Shadyac on board as exec producer for his Shady Acres Prods.

ABC has made a script commitment to the project; Shadyac may direct the pilot.

Other FlodyCo. projects with script commitments from ABC are:

  • “Cold Case Squad,” an hourlong crime drama set in New Orleans, to be penned by journo Jon Eskow;

  • “A Town Called Banana,” which revolves around an odd town in the Aussie outback. Harry Werksman and Gabrielle Stanton (“The Invisible Man”) are writing the pilot;

  • “No Ordinary Love,” a half-hour laffer from scribe Maria Perez-Brown (“Taina”) about an independent Latina woman and her family;

  • “Forever Young,” a teacher laffer from scribe Phil Beauman (Daily Variety, Dec. 14).

Projects elsewhere

Outside of its Touchstone deal, FlodyCo. also has set up “The Diary of V,” a half-hour laffer based on the bestselling books by Debra Kent. Oscar nominee Jeff Arch (“Sleepless in Seattle”) will write the pilot, a co-production of FlodyCo. and NBC Studios for NBC.

Suarez also is looking to set up a show called “The Dealership,” a half-hour from scribe Tom Martin (“Just Shoot Me”) focusing on car salesmen.

While at Sonnenfeld’s company, Suarez snagged series commitments for UPN’s “Secret Agent Man” and a Daniel Stern laffer for CBS that died when Stern pulled out.

As VP of development at NBC, Suarez worked on skeins such as “ER” and “Just Shoot Me.” He previously was VP of communications for the Peacock.

Deal for Suarez and FlodyCo. was brokered by UTA and Bob Myman.