Fox hot on ‘Frasier’ duo

Pair to come up with blind script for net

“Frasier” exec producers Chris Marcil and Sam Johnson have sealed a rare seven-figure overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV.

The pact calls for Marcil and Johnson to come up with a blind script this upcoming season as they work on the final season of “Frasier.” After Kelsey Grammer & Co. serve up their last batch of tossed salads and scrambled eggs, Marcil and Johnson officially begin their exclusive two-year service for 20th.

The duo will both create skeins and work on other 20th series under the deal.

“In a time where we are scrutinizing deals more carefully, the fact that we made such a commitment to them speaks a lot about these passionate writers,” said 20th Century Fox TV prexy Dana Walden. “They’re known as incredibly hard-working team players who also have inspiration.”

Indeed, a bidding war of sorts had erupted in recent days for the scribes’ services, with NBC making a strong play before 20th won out. Walden credited 20th senior VP Brad Johnson for identifying Marcil and Johnson as writers to keep an eye on.

“Brad identified them two years ago as wish-list writers that, when given the opportunity, he badly wanted to develop with,” Walden said. “I can’t express strongly enough what a coup we consider this to be.”

Marcil and Johnson first met at Yale, writing first for the National Lampoon and later for MTV’s “Beavis and Butt-head.” Moving out west, the duo eventually landed on NBC’s critically acclaimed “NewsRadio” before moving to “Frasier.”

“This is a very exciting opportunity for us,” Marcil said. “When we left New York and MTV eight years ago, this was our goal, to get a shot at thinking up a TV show. We put that dream on hold for a while, and it’s exciting to defrost it and take advantage of it.”

Marcil said he and Johnson were flattered by 20th’s tenacity in signing them to the studio.

“They’ve worked hard at keeping in touch with us, even when we’ve been on ‘Frasier,’ ” he said.

Beyond TV, the duo — who are repped by CAA and Jamie Mandelbaum — have written pieces for George magazine, the New Yorker and the New York Times. They also wrote two companion books to “Beavis and Butt-head.”

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