David Zabel lands deal at ABC Studios

THR EXCLUSIVE

Former "ER" executive producer/showrunner David Zabel has inked a two-year overall deal with ABC Studios.

Under the seven-figure pact, he has joined the studio's pilot "187 Detroit" as executive producer/showrunner. He could continue as an exec producer on the cop drama starring Michael Imperioli if it is picked up to series and also would develop new projects for the studio.

There have been several pilots this season looking for a showrunner, including Jason Richman's "Detroit," described as a real but humorous look at Detroit's top homicide division as seen through the cameras of a fictitious documentary crew.

"I really loved the script; it was right up my alley with the balance of a cop show and a character show," Zabel said. "It's an interesting, contemporary spin on a classic genre that combines action-packed and emotional cop stories with a fair dose of character."

Zabel met with the studio on the project, and the conversation expanded into an overall deal situation.

"It was a very creative environment for me and a good opportunity to do a show I was interested in doing, and one I felt I can contribute to," he said.

Zabel first got to work with ABC on the network side this development season. Under a premium two-script deal at Sony TV he signed in April, he developed two projects, one that landed at NBC and the other at ABC.

Zabel joined "ER" in 2001 as an executive story editor and rose through the ranks. He was at the helm of the venerable medical drama for its final 41⁄2 years, including the show's final season.

Zabel, whose credits include "Dark Angel" and "JAG," is repped by WME and attorney Ken Richman.
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