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Fox goes on with the shows

Showrunners sign on for 'Wanda,' 'Bernie'

Fox Broadcasting has found new showrunners for a pair of key comedies, while the WB is adding some new blood to “Grounded for Life.”

Former “Titus” titans Brian Hargrove and Jack Kenny have signed on as exec producers of Warner Bros.’ laffer “Wanda at Large,” while “Friends” vet Michael Borkow has been tapped to run Regency/20th’s “The Bernie Mac Show.”

Jeff Astrof and Mike Sikowitz (“In Laws”) are joining Carsey-Werner-Mandabach’s “Grounded for Life” as co-exec producers, with a promised bump up to exec producers/showrunners midway through the season.

Changes come as studios and webs put the finishing touches on writing staffs for the 2003-04 season. Here are the latest staffing developments:

  • On “Bernie Mac,” Borkow has already assembled a sort of murderers’ row of scribes to serve as co-exec producers on the third season. In addition to “Bernie” vet Warren Hutcherson, Borkow has recruited Rich Appel (“A.U.S.A.”), John Riggi (“Young Person’s Guide to Being a Rock Star”) and Saladin Patterson (“The PJs”) to write and co-exec produce the skein. Mac is also a co-exec producer on the show.

Borkow’s appointment comes in the wake of “Bernie Mac” creator/exec producer Larry Wilmore’s forced departure from the show this spring.

Fox Entertainment prexy Gail Berman said Borkow’s working with Mac was “a natural fit.”

“Michael is being brought on board to run this shop as well as it has been, and perhaps to increase the funny, if you will,” she said. “We want to make sure that we’re staying in sitcom territory and not going off into drama territory.”

Borkow and Mac had previously worked together on a project that didn’t move forward, and Borkow said he had been a fan of “The Bernie Mac Show” since its pilot.

“They’ve done a good job capturing what’s so special about Bernie,” said Borkow, who is repped by Endeavor.

In addition to spending several seasons on “Friends,” Borkow most recently was co-exec producer on “Malcolm in the Middle.” Other credits include “Roseanne” and “Flying Blind.”

Changes at “Bernie Mac” come as distributor 20th Television announced the skein has been cleared for off-net syndication in 10 metered markets repping 30% of the country, including the Fox-owned duopoly stations in New York and Los Angeles.

  • Hargrove and Kenny will serve as showrunners of “Wanda” with exec producer Bruce Helford.

Helford said “Wanda” came together so quickly, and had such a short first-season run, that there was never time to round out the show’s staff.

“We needed to fill things out, and we read Brian and Jack’s material and really loved their work,” he said. “So we’re bringing them on board to give us a hand.”

Duo created “Titus” and served as exec producers during the show’s entire Fox run.

  • Astrof and Sikowitz will work alongside “Grounded” creators/exec producers/showrunners Bill Martin and Mike Schiff before being bumped to exec producers later in the season.

Astrof and Sikowitz most recently worked on NBC’s “In-Laws”; their small-screen credits include “Friends,” “It’s like, you know…” and “Veronica’s Closet.”

Kenny, Hargrove, Astrof and Sikowitz are repped by Ted Chervin of BWCS; latter duo also are repped by Michael Gendler.

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