July 11, 2012 4:00pm PT by Michael O'Connell
'New Girl' EP Jake Kasdan Inks Overall Deal With 20th TV
20th Century Fox Television is keeping hold of New Girl executive producer Jake Kasdan.
The director, who helmed four episodes of the Fox comedy's freshman season, has signed a two-year overall deal with the studio that will keep him at the show and the new season's Ben and Kate.
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"Jake came into the New Girl situation to direct the pilot, and he seemed to really connect with our actors and certainly with [creator] Liz Meriwether," TCFTV chairman Gary Newman tells The Hollywood Reporter. "He found it creatively very satisfying, so we jumped on that, made a deal with him and now renewed it. Jake has tremendous versatility. He's great with actors and writers, and he's incredibly comfortable in a network executive's office, selling a project."
During the first season of New Girl, Kasdan also directed the pilot for Dana Fox's Ben and Kate -- which subsequently was picked up by Fox to air ahead of New Girl on Tuesday nights. And while he'll now being working to develop additional projects at the studio, Newman says Kasdan's day-to-day duties will continue to be with the existing series.
"My guess is that his first love is New Girl and that will probably continue to be his primary focus," says Newman. "We're selectively going to have him develop, and when it gets to pilot season, Jake is certainly someone we would send any comedy pilot to -- to see if he's interested in directing."
Kasdan, who got his start on Judd Apatow's Freaks and Geeks and has directed features such as Bad Teacher, The TV Set and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, is the latest in a string of 20th talent to ink new deals. He joins Bones showrunner Stephen Nathan, How I Met Your Mother EP Chuck Tatham and Modern Family's Jeff Richman and Abraham Higginbotham, all of whom re-upped with the studio in the last month.
"If both sides are interested in extending or deepening that relationship, then it's probably a sign that relationship is working really well," says Newman. "We pride ourselves on how many people we have under overall deals."
Kasdan is repped by WME.