Big boom for Turteltaub: CBS Par deal

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Filmmaker Jon Turteltaub is putting down roots in television with his first overall deal -- a two-year pact with CBS Paramount Network Television.

Under the deal, Turteltaub will develop and executive produce projects in all TV genres through his Junction Entertainment banner run by Karim Zreik and Dan Shotz.

The overall arrangement stems from Turteltaub's three-for-one pact with CBS two years ago, which led to the creation of the network's postapocalyptic series "Jericho," which Turteltaub is executive producing. The CBS Par TV-produced show, on which Turteltaub also directed the pilot and several other episodes, is returning for a second season early next year after a massive grass-roots fan campaign saved it from cancellation.

"Since the early development phase of 'Jericho,' I have been incredibly impressed with Jon and his top lieutenants, Karim and Dan," CBS Par TV president David Stapf said. "They are smart, collaborative and have been extremely instrumental in making the show a cult favorite. We're fortunate that Jon not only brought his sense of humor but his cinematic style to television."

Turteltaub said it was mainly the opportunity to continue working with Stapf and CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler that attracted him to the idea of an overall deal with CBS Par TV.

"The last couple of years gave us a quick and thorough education in how to produce television ... be nice, be honest and work harder than you've ever worked in your life," Turteltaub said.

For her part, Tassler praised Turteltaub.

"I couldn't be more thrilled to continue our relationship with my good friend Jon Turteltaub," she said. "I pursued projects with him for several years until we finally landed 'Jericho' last season, and I loved every minute of it. Throughout the entire experience, Jon and his talented team have impressed me with their passion and dedication for producing great
television, and I can't wait to develop future projects with them."

Turteltaub also praised Zreik and Shotz for "making things happen" at Junction.

"Without Dan and Karim, there's no company -- it's just me sitting around in my underwear wanting to be in showbiz," Turteltaub said.

Zreik and Shotz, who have been at Junction Entertainment for seven years, will oversee all aspects of series development under the company's deal with CBS Par TV. They serve co-executive producers on "Jericho" and will hold the same titles on future Junction series projects.

Turteltaub is not the first big-name filmmaker to segue from a three-for-one deal with CBS to an overall deal with CBS Par TV after their pact with the network yielded a CBS Par TV-produced TV series.

Ridley and Tony Scott, whose three-for-one deal with CBS resulted in the crime drama "Numbers," are now based at CBS Par TV and recently renewed their overall deal at the studio for two more years (HR 3/21).

On the feature side, Turteltaub has had a long, successful relationship with the Walt Disney Co., where his Junction Entertainment has been housed since 1996 in a nonexclusive, first-look deal.

Turteltaub is in production on Walt Disney Pictures' "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," which he is directing and producing alongside Jerry Bruckheimer. Turteltaub also directed and produced the original 2004 "National Treasure" adventure film, which grossed more than $350 million globally.
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