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ABC lands Matthew Perry project

Kelsey Grammer, Courteney Cox and now Matthew Perry. ABC, one step closer to rebuilding NBC's 1990s "Must-See TV" sitcom block on Wednesday nights.

By Nellie Andreeva

ABC won the Matthew Perry sweepstakes.

After heated bidding, the network has landed the single-camera project starring the "Friends" alum in whatcould be the richest deal so far this development season.

The pact for the untitled comedy, based on an idea by Perry, isexpected to carry series-size penalties both to producing studioSony TV and Perry, almost guaranteeing a green light.

The project, which Perry will be writing with Sony-based AlexBarnow and Mark Firek, became an instant hot property when it hitthe marketplace this week, with ABC and "Friends" home NBC goingtoe-to-toe in pursuit of the show.

Thomas Schlamme is attached to direct the comedy, starring Perry asa self-involved manager of a second-rate sports arena who begins toreevaluate his life on his 40th birthday.

Perry, Barnow, Firek and Schlamme are executive producing with SonyTV-based Jamie Tarses.

The deal, which is still being finalized, gives ABC a second showfronted by a "Friends" star. Corteney Cox headlines the network’sfreshman comedy "Cougar Town."