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20th TV’s go-to guy Appel gets busier

'Simpsons,' 'Hill' mainstay also juggles 'Bernie' duties

Veteran scribe-producer Rich Appel is staying put at 20th Century Fox TV, inking a multiyear deal with the studio.

As part of the seven-figure pact, Appel, who created last season’s NBC laffer “A.U.S.A.,” will develop and exec produce projects for the studio while also working on existing skeins. He’s already signed on to serve as a co-exec producer on the 20th-produced laffer “The Bernie Mac Show” (Daily Variety, May 28).

Scribe’s been based at 20th for nearly a decade, working on animated hits “The Simpsons” and “King of the Hill.”

Studio prexy Dana Walden said she and fellow prexy Gary Newman consider Appel “part of the Fox family.”

“He’s done fantastic work for us over the many years we’ve had a deal with him,” Walden told Daily Variety. “He’s able to write a broad range of comedy, whether it’s single-camera or multicamera. He’s very skilled, and we’re glad to continue working with him.”

Appel said that while “A.U.S.A.” didn’t make it to a second season, his experience working with the studio on the show “was almost ideal.”

“I’ve spent my entire career at 20th, and Gary and Dana are like family to me — which is to say, they’re hard to please, they withhold love, and I’m desperate for their approval,” scribe quipped.

Appel also said he was looking forward to working with exec producer Michael Borkow on “Bernie Mac” before beginning the development process again.

Ideal circumstances

“Bernie’s a charismatic star, the show’s terrific, and the people Michael have put together are first rate,” Appel said.

Appel got into showbiz after working both as a criminal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s office and as a clerk at two federal courts. In 1994, he left to become a writer (and eventually co-exec producer) on “The Simpsons.”

Scribe, who’s repped by Endeavor, then joined “King of the Hill” as exec producer for three seasons and showrunner for two more. His experience as a prosecutor inspired “A.U.S.A.”

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