Everything lawyer-cum-writer-cum-Emmy darling David E. Kelley touches turns to gold, so it only figures his next deal would break the bank.|
The prolific, Midas-like Kelley is about to close one of the most lucrative television production deals in history, Daily Variety reports.
Kelley--who won double Emmys for Fox's Ally McBeal and ABC's The Practice, and just had his latest effort, Snoops, picked up for the season by ABC--is reportedly ready to ink a deal with Fox that will pay him $50 million upfront, plus back-end guarantees that could amount to hundreds of millions more.
Although NYPD Blue creator Steven Bochco recently signed a $50 million development deal, Kelley's incentive-laden pact is virtually unheard of in tube-land. Usually, only A-list film directors like Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis or guaranteed box-office locks like Tom Hanks or Adam Sandler can finagle a percentage of the film's gross as part of their pay.
The Kelley deal, which has been in the works for months, will extend an existing relationship the wonder boy has had with 20th Century Fox, where he created series both for the Fox network and for ABC. The new financial terms will apparently be retroactive to cover both Fox's Ally McBeal and ABC's The Practice.
Under the new pact, Fox gets dibs on all Kelley's TV projects--hoping Kelley's one-man factory can crank out up to four shows in the next five years to replace such aging dramas as The X-Files, Party of Five and Beverly Hills, 90210.
The deal purportedly contains a feature component, though Kelley's recent big-screen forays Lake Placid and Mystery, Alaska didn't exactly wow audiences.