Former WB Entertainment prexy Susanne Daniels is close to setting up shop at 20th Century Fox Television.
Exec-turned-producer is in discussions with 20th about a three-year overall deal to bring her First Move Television shingle to the studio. She’ll serve as a non-writing exec producer on her own projects, working with writers she brings to the studio as well as scribes already based at 20th.
It’s also expected she’d hire a senior development exec.
Daniels has a solid working history with 20th, having developed several key shows with the studio, including “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer,” during her tenure as head of the Frog web’s programming division.
Indeed, a 20th insider said studio toppers Gary Newman and Dana Walden were “eager to make a deal” with Daniels “based on their long relationship, dating back to the early days of ‘Buffy.'”
Insiders said Walden and Newman believe Daniels “shares the same sensibilities as the studio.” A 20th Century Fox TV spokesman confirmed negotiations are underway.
It’s the first permanent major studio home for First Move (formerly known as Primarily Entertainment), which Daniels launched when she exited the WB in summer 2001. In its brief life, First Move has produced (along with NBC Studios) the Peacock skein “Hidden Hills,” as well as three other pilots. It has sold more than a dozen scripts.
First Move was initially set up at Turner Television, a production shingle created by then-Turner CEO Jamie Kellner when he took over and merged TBS with the WB.
But Turner Television only lasted a year before it essentially ceased to exist; after that, Daniels’ deal was renegotiated, with her company jointly funded by Turner and Warner Bros. TV. But that left First Move without a concrete home, and after her deal expired, Daniels opted to look elsewhere.
Enter 20th Century Fox TV.
“20th Century Fox was my first choice to set up my production company,” CAA-repped Daniels said. “(20th toppers) Dana Walden and Gary Newman run the best studio in the business.”
Daniels said she also was eager to work closely with 20th sister web Fox, led by Gail Berman, who exec-produced “Buffy” and was active in the show’s early creation at the WB.
“I’m really excited to develop programming for Gail, who I have so much respect for, and with whom I worked closely when I was at the WB. Dana and Gary have done an excellent job of working closely with their sister network, so it makes sense to me to set up my production company there.”
Daniels said she also hopes to continue to create series for the WB, particularly now that 20th and the Frog have seemingly resolved their sometimes contentious differences. Daniels landed the drama pilot “Chasing Alice” at the WB this recent development season.
“I love everyone over there at the WB and am grateful to have had the opportunities I had,” Daniels said. “I really enjoyed building the business there. It was a great experience, one I would do over again in a heartbeat. I have nothing but affection for WB people.”
Moving to 20th, Daniels plans to continue to focus on developing both comedy and drama projects, and doesn’t rule out dabbling in the alternative arena — an area she handled earlier as an exec at ABC.
“People ask me what kind of shows I want to do and I always think about what the bottom line was for me as a development executive at the networks,” she said. “This is a hit driven business and I want to develop hits.”
Daniels said she also wouldn’t rule out working with her husband, “King of the Hill” exec producer Greg Daniels — but notes in jest that both aren’t sure whether that’s a good or bad idea.