After a one-year courtship, CBS Paramount Network Television and “Everybody Hates Chris” co-creator Ali LeRoi are making it official.
Scribe has inked a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with the studio that calls on him to continue as showrunner of “Chris” and, down the line, develop projects. It’s LeRoi’s first overall pact with a studio.
“Chris,” which is based on Chris Rock’s 1980s childhood, is one of the few UPN (or WB) comedies making the transition to the new CW Network this fall. Skein recently snagged two TV Critics Assn. Awards noms, for comedy and new show.
CBS Par Network TV prexy David Stapf called LeRoi “a master storyteller” who had no problem stepping up as showrunner in his first at-bat.
“He became a superior showrunner almost immediately,” Stapf said, noting LeRoi has been able to ensure “Chris” doesn’t feel like a niche skein.
“It’s a very specific show that has universal appeal,” he explained. “That’s a testament to how Ali tells stories.”
For his part, LeRoi said he’s appreciated the direct approach taken by Stapf and his exec team when it came time to tackling the normal issues that arise during the launch of a first-year skein.
“They’re clear and decisive,” he said. “At just about every step of the process, when we’ve encountered things that are difficult, we’ve figured out ways to get it done. David finds solutions to the problem rather than just get scared off and move away from the project.”
LeRoi plans to continue concentrating on “Chris” for at least one more season. So, besides more coin, what difference does the overall deal make?
“I’m now officially Paramount’s bitch,” he said. “And I’m going to get an apartment on the Paramount lot. When they say they want to keep you here, they’re not kidding.”
Before “Chris,” Endeavor-repped LeRoi worked mostly in features, writing the Rock vehicles “Down to Earth” and “Head of State.” He also worked on Rock’s HBO skein.