Sold on ‘Cell’ mates

Warner Bros. TV inks multiyear pact

Warner Bros. TV has inked a lucrative seven-figure overall deal with Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris, creators of the Showtime limited skein “Sleeper Cell.”

Multiyear pact comes just weeks after the duo’s feature script “Nottingham” snagged seven figures at Universal following a competitive bidding situation with other studios. Russell Crowe will get $20 million against 20% to star in the revised “Robin Hood” tale, which Brian Grazer is producing (Daily Variety, Feb. 1).

Deal with Warner Bros. calls for Reiff and Voris to create and develop series projects for the studio, with a focus on developing dramas for broadcast nets.

Voris noted that he and Reiff “have a history” with WBTV prexy Peter Roth, who ran the Fox network when the scribes produced their very first TV project, the short-lived supernatural skein “Brimstone.”

“When it became clear that ‘Sleeper Cell’ wasn’t coming back for a third season, we immediately had a meeting with them,” Voris said.

Scribes realize that working for WBTV means producing fare that’s suitable for broadcast nets, rather than an edgier work such as “Sleeper Cell.”

“There were no limits to what we could do on that show, and that won’t be the case working for a broadcast network,” Reiff said. “That doesn’t mean we can’t do something that’s really interesting.”

Voris said a good template for the duo will be Shawn Ryan, who created “The Shield” for FX and then went on to find success on CBS with “The Unit.”

It’s too soon to say what kind of genre the scribes will attack first, but Voris said “Sleeper Cell” gave the scribes “so many connections in the law enforcement community. It opened the door in terms of real world stories and experiences, and it would be interesting to try to bring some of that to network television.”

Scribes are repped by WMA, Field Entertainment and attorney David Feldman.

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