Sony signs 3-year deal with Apostle

Shingle plans for 8 to 10 shows this year

Sony will continue to spread the gospel according to Apostle partners Denis Leary and Jim Serpico.

Studio has inked a new three-year overall deal with the Gotham-based shingle behind FX’s “Rescue Me” and Fox’s upcoming Julianna Margulies drama “Canterbury’s Law.” “Rescue Me” begins its fourth season tonight.

New deal comes as Apostle looks to increase its output as one of New York’s top TV production shingles. Serpico hopes to develop between eight and 10 projects this year.

“We’re trying to make an even bigger name for ourselves,” Serpico said. “If you’re a major piece of talent, and you want to work in New York, we want you to strongly think of us. We physically know how to produce these shows and make them work in New York.”

Simultaneously, Apostle has upped Adrienne O’Riain to veep of TV development. She’ll work closely with longtime Apostle exec Tom Sellitti, who’s been upped to supervising producer status on both “Rescue Me” and “Canterbury’s Law.”

The Apostle team brings a lot to the table,” said Zack Van Amburg, who, with Jamie Erlicht, serves as co-prexy of programming and production for Sony Pictures Television. “Their first-hand experience and understanding of what’s truly important to writers, actors and directors attracts A-list talent both in front of and behind the camera.”

Erlicht added that Leary and Serpico “have proven themselves to be a very talented and effective production team.”

Serpico, who acts as prexy of motion pictures and television for Apostle, said Sony has given the company “an environment which allows us to support and protect the original vision of the writers and showrunners” with which it does business.

“They’ve been great partners to us over the past few years,” he said. “And they’ve been very supportive of ‘Rescue Me’ and our development slate.”

Apostle scored two pilots last year — “Canterbury’s Law” and the NBC entry “Fort Pit,” which was not picked up. Next year, the shingle plans to continue targeting both the comedy and drama landscape.

“We want to focus on dramas this year that are grounded in reality and contain rich characters in the center,” Serpico said. And in comedy, “I do think there’s an opportunity. I’d even like to go back in time and develop character-driven comedies like ‘All in the Family’ and ‘Cheers,’ but with a contemporary twist.”

Launched in 1994, Apostle’s TV division has resided at Sony since 2003. It’s one of the rare Gotham-based companies with a major overall deal at a studio. Sellitti, who’s been with the company from the start, “continues to be a driving force behind our production and development slate,” Serpico said.

In addition to their two current skeins, Leary and Serpico exec produced the critically loved ABC half-hour dramedy “The Job” and the Comedy Central skein “Shorties Watching Shorties.”

Apostle is repped by Paradigm.