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New development for ‘Hope’ helmer

Junger also maintains first-look pilot directing deal

TV helmer Gil Junger (“Hope & Faith”) is branching into series development, having signed an overall deal with Touchstone.

Under the seven-figure, year-and-a-half deal, Junger will be exclusively developing projects for the Disney-run studio. He’ll also maintain a first-look pilot directing arrangement with the studio.

Junger, who serves as an exec producer on “Hope & Faith,” developed two projects for Touchstone sib ABC this past season, neither of which was picked up to pilot.

This spring he also directed the Alphabet web sitcom pilot “Plan B,” starring Caroline Rhea, as well as untitled laffers starring Jessica Simpson and comedian Earthquake.

Junger said he has been itching to get into the development game for some time.

“It just felt like it was the right time for me to start developing my own things,” he said. “This seems to be the next intelligent progression in my career.”

Junger started out in the late 1970s on the ABC sitcom “Soap.” His lengthy career includes directing the seminal episode of “Ellen” in which the character revealed that she was a lesbian. Junger was nominated for an Emmy and Director’s Guild Award for that episode.

The CAA-repped Junger said he first met current ABC Entertainment topper Steve McPherson when both of them worked with uber-producers Witt-Thomas. The director has worked almost exclusively with ABC and Touchstone since “Ellen,” handling duties on everything from “According to Jim” to “8 Simple Rules.”

“I have a good insight into what it is that both the studio and the network wants,” Junger said. “It just seemed like a great marriage. In a weird way, I’m excited about joining the network, especially now. Everyone knows they’re in fourth place, and they’re going to need product. There’s opportunity there.”

The producer-director said he’ll work with his development executive, Jill Arthur, to start immediately coming up with sitcom ideas. Junger, who also directed the features “10 Things I Hate About You” and “Black Knight,” said he’d also like to tap some of his contacts in the feature world.

“I just want to make some good TV, and be able to develop shows I can be proud of,” he said.

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