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20th TV signs Brett Ratner

Pact is part of filmmaker's expansion in TV

Brett Ratner is looking to increase his TV output, sealing an overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV.

Besides its two-year pact at 20th, Ratner’s Rat TV shingle has signed prexy Martha Haight to a two-year term.

Ratner’s TV expansion comes as the producer has lined up development at CBS, Fox, TNT and the CW.

Ratner’s partnership with 20th dates to “Prison Break,” which he directed.

He’s such a prolific guy,” said 20th exec VP Jennifer Nicholson Salke. “We’ve had a five-year love affair with him. More than anything, we love his enthusiasm and his ability to find talent. He has an affinity for pop culture and everything about it.”

Ratner said he’s looking to move beyond helming TV, having brought in Haight to help him build a smallscreen division in the manner of, say, Jerry Bruckheimer or Brian Grazer.

Storytelling is what my craft is; I don’t care about the medium,” Ratner said. “Most TV shows now are better than a lot of features. It’s a great medium to explore and experiment. I can try things that I wouldn’t try on a feature.”

Projects in the works include “Chaos,” set up at CBS. Drama, from scribe Tom Spezialy (“Reaper,” “Desperate Housewives”), takes a satirical look at the world of the CIA.

At Fox, William Blake Herron (“Role Models”) has created “The Devil and Daniel Webster,” a fresh take on the Stephen Vincent Benet short story and Faust tale. And at TNT, Sean Jablonski (“Nip/Tuck”) is behind spec scriptThe Dead Beat,” a buddy cop drama.

I’m looking for great characters,” said Ratner, who is onboard to direct much of his scripted development. “And that’s what attracts the better actors … I like to keep honing my skills as a director, and we’ve collaborated with some great writers.”

On the nonscripted side, Rat TV is behind reality scavenger hunt project “The Lost Weekend.” Justin Hochberg (“The Apprentice”) came up with the idea.

Ratner said he was drawn to “Lost Weekend,” having participated in several scavenger hunts as a teen in Miami.

Rat TV is also pitching an adventure food show to cablers; project follows two female chefs as they travel around the globe to find where good food originates. Also in the food space, Ratner said he’d like to develop a vehicle for original “Top Chef” host Katie Lee Joel.

Ratner praised his partnership with 20th, pointing out that the studio has allowed him to bring in his feature team to shoot TV projects.

A lot of TV companies micro-manage and want you to use TV people, but there’s a shorthand I have with (20th execs) when I walk into the room,” he said. “They’ve been really supportive and smart and have backed me up 100%.”

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