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Producer Gerber sticks with Fox TV

'Breakout,' 'Runaway' among projects in the works

Veteran producer and TV exec David Gerber has signed on to extend his production pact for another year with Fox Television Studios, where he’ll continue to develop longform productions and series.

Gerber already has a number of telepics in the works, including projects set up at FX and Lifetime. Separately, Gerber is an exec producer on the WB’s fall drama “Tarzan and Jane” alongside Laura Ziskin, David Nutter and Eric Kripke.

Gerber, whose exec stints include top TV jobs at MGM, All American, Columbia TV and 20th Century Fox TV, has been a producer in recent years.

Most recently, he has been based at Fox TV Studios, where he works closely with prexy David Grant and Fox TV Pictures topper David Madden.

Go for longforms

“What they’d like to do are longforms that are economical,” Gerber said. “The very fact that they’re encouraging me to do movies, even though it’s a tough business right now, makes me feel good.”

Grant said his company has been able to take advantage of Gerber’s vast experience.

“We’re a pretty young company, and he’s an incredibly knowledgeable figure,” Grant said. “It’s great having him around; we learn a lot from him. The guy loves to sell and loves to produce.”

Gerber produced last year’s Peabody Award-winning A&E telepic “The Lost Battalion”; he’ll reteam with that movie’s scribe, Jim Carabatsos, to develop “Breakout” at FX.

The Korean War-set “Breakout” follows the story of the U.S. Marines First Army, which was handed bad intelligence and wound up having to escape an onslaught of 300,000 Chinese troops. The three-hour project is in the script commitment stage at FX.

‘Runaway’ girl

As for the Lifetime project, “Runaway” is a sequel to Gerber’s 1995 Fox telepic “The Price of Love,” which explored the world of a male teenage street hustler in Los Angeles. This time around, “Runaway” will follow a 15-year-old girl who lives on the streets.

Trevor Walton, who was at Fox when “The Price of Love” aired, is now the head of longform at Lifetime — hence the reunion. “Price of Love” scribe Ron Parker is back to pen “Runaway,” which likely will be set in Kansas City.

“Tarzan and Jane,” meanwhile, exists outside of Gerber’s Fox TV Studios deal. Gerber held the TV rights to the “Tarzan and Jane” story and considered developing a firstrun syndie take on the characters; instead, Gerber’s William Morris reps brought it to Ziskin, who got the ball rolling and turned it into a drama project for Warner Bros. TV.

‘Woman’ revisited

Gerber also hopes to pursue his dream project this year: a revival of the Angie Dickinson drama “Police Woman.” Gerber was a producer on “Police Story” and “Police Woman” in the 1970s at Columbia TV (now Sony Pictures Television), where he later became an exec.

Gerber said he broached the idea last season of a “Police Woman” revival.

“There was an interest there (at Sony), but they said to wait until the season was over,” Gerber said. “We’ll see if we can’t find a new Angie — although Angie will still be part of it. When things settle down, we’ll make a foray (into developing it).”

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