George Lopez is back in primetime, scoring a new deal made official today by FX to bring at least 10 episodes and perhaps 100 of his upcoming sitcom, Saint George.
FX Network’s Executive Vice President Chuck Saftler just announced the “10/90” deal with Lionsgate Television and Debmar-Mercury for the half-hour, which begins production in August.
Lopez was last seen on television in late-night with a two-year run on TBS with Lopez Tonight (2009-2011) — his previous ABC sitcom, George Lopez, ran on the network from 2002-2007 and continues to air in syndication late-nights on Nickelodeon’s Nick at Nite.
Lopez said upon his series pickup: “I’m excited about my new show, couldn’t think a better group of people or better place to create than FX…..Now to get ready… Back to Pilates!”
Saint George is a multi-cam sitcom starring Lopez as a divorced man who has his mother move in with him, and deals with that, his ex-wife, an 11-year-old son, an uncle, a new gig teaching history at night school.
FX and Debmar-Mercury already have worked through a successful 10/90 deal on Anger Management, the Charlie Sheen “comeback” vehicle. These deals require the initial 10-episode order to meet a pre-determined ratings target that triggers an automatic renewal for the remaining 90, giving a series a minimum of 100 episodes to then sell elsewhere for syndication. Other series benefitting from this model outside of FX include Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and Meet The Browns, and Ice Cube’s Are We There Yet? Tellingly, the FX press release today already indicates that “off-network episodes” could start airing in fall 2015. Ah, the joys of syndication speculation.
Saint George is co-created by Lopez with Matt Williams and his Wind Dancer Films partner David McFadzean. Williams and McFadzean’s previous credits include helping stand-up comedians create the hit TV sitcoms Roseanne and Home Improvement. Michael Rotenberg, Dete Meserve and Judd Payne also will serve as executive producers; Lionsgate Television producing in association with Wind Dancer Films, Travieso Productions and 3 Arts Entertainment.
Quotes from the press release:
FX’s Saftler: “George Lopez is an incredibly gifted actor-producer and one of the most talented comedians in the business. The 10/90 model requires a unique individual who has the ability to pull off this kind of daunting schedule. George is that guy and we couldn’t be happier that he chose FX as the home for his new project. We’ve had a great experience working with Kevin Beggs and his team at Lionsgate as well as with Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein at Debmar-Mercury, and are thrilled to expand that relationship.”
Williams: “George is one of the smartest, funniest guys around. David and I are thrilled to be working with him.”
Debmar-Mercury Co-Presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein: “FX has been an outstanding partner and we know it will provide the perfect fit for this terrific concept from the great comedy mind of George Lopez. Our business model is all about finding unique talent and broad concepts that have the best chance of succeeding both on networks and later in off-net syndication. George Lopez’s broad appeal and strong following from the rapidly growing Hispanic audience, combined with the unmatched experience and track record of Matt and David, makes us extremely confident they can deliver our next big hit.”
Lionsgate Television Group President Kevin Beggs: “In the tradition of George’s frank and fearless standup comedy, Saint George will reflect his no-holds-barred comedic take on the tensions surrounding race, class, sex and family life in Los Angeles through the eyes of a man straddling two separate cultures. George is an extraordinary talent and we are privileged to be working with him and with Matt and David, who are responsible for some of the most successful television comedies ever produced.”