‘Prison’ duo lock up deal at 20th TV

Estrin, Santora extend term at net

Twentieth Century Fox TV is locking up a pair of key “Prison Break” producers, inking Zack Estrin and Nick Santora to its roster.

Studio has signed separate seven-figure deals with the scribes, who serve as supervising producers on Fox’s frosh suspense thriller. Skein was just renewed for a second season (Daily Variety, March 29).

Under the terms of the deals, both men will be bumped up to co-exec producers next season. They’ll also create and develop new projects for the studio.

In addition to “Break,” Santora is an exec producer on “Beauty and the Geek,” the WB hit produced by Fox sibling Fox 21. Scribe’s other credits include “The Sopranos” and “Law & Order.”

Estrin came to “Prison Break” having worked on skeins such as 20th’s “Tru Calling” and “Miracles.” He’s the son of veteran TV scribe Jonathan Estrin (“Cagney & Lacey,” “Sisters”).

Dana Walden, prexy of 20th Century Fox TV, said the studio’s strategy with overall deals is to pact with “people who’ve proven their abilities as utility players and inventive thinkers, and that’s what both Zach and Nick are.

“Prison Break” is “such a monster endeavor on a weekly basis because you have to tell these fast-paced, compelling stories while maintaining a high level of emotion,” she told Daily Variety. “Anyone who can do that is going to get an overall deal at our studio.”

While staying on “Prison Break” was key to their decision to ink with 20th, Estrin and Santora both plan to develop new projects.

“Early in my career, I ended up being put on a lot of supernatural shows, and I’m not really a supernatural writer,” Estrin said. “Being able to write about people who don’t have any special powers has been a relief, and I’d like to stay in that realm.”

Santora said he’s open to “any kind of interesting storytelling mechanism, whether it be an hour, a half-hour or an alternative show.”