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NBC keeps old ‘Friend’ close

Calhoun inks NBC deal

Former “Friends” exec producer Wil Calhoun is staying close to his Peacock pals, inking a new two-year overall deal with NBC Universal Television Studio.

Seven-figure pact calls for Calhoun to create and develop series projects for the studio. He’ll also work on existing NUTS skeins.

Calhoun — who also co-created the WB’s Amanda Bynes laffer “What I Like About You” — was most recently a consulting producer on “Sons and Daughters,” the Lorne Michaels/NUTS laffer that drew strong critical notice but low ratings on ABC this spring. He also worked on NUTS-produced “Teachers.”

Shelley McCrory, senior veepee of comedy at the studio, said Calhoun’s comedy chops extend beyond simply serving up one-liners.

Wil Calhoun has a lot on his mind and has a ton he wants to say about what’s happening in our culture, about the way we interact and about the American condition,” McCrory said, adding Calhoun is also “extremely funny.”

While Calhoun has spent the bulk of his career working on Warner Bros. TV projects, he’s had plenty of time to interact with NBC execs. In addition to his most recent overall deal with the Peacock studio, he spent six years working on NBC shows such as “Friends,” “Jesse” and “Caroline in the City.”

“I have such a long history with them, and I’ve always liked the way they deal with writers,” Calhoun told Daily Variety. “It’s a very collaborative thing. We speak to each other in a very respectful way.”

While Calhoun said he enjoyed his gig on the semi-improvised “Sons and Daughters,” he said he’s “very much at home with multicamera half-hours” and is looking forward to returning to the format.

“I like producing shows in front of an audience,” he said. “I feel very comfortable there.”

After a year on “Caroline,” Calhoun — who’s repped by CAA –joined the staff of “Friends” during the 1996-97 season, rising to exec producer during the 1999-2000 season.

He teamed with Tollin-Robbins and Dan Schneider to create “What I Like About You” in 2002. He left the show in 2004 to sign with what was then NBC Studios.

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