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Heard During Pilot Season

Tim Allen & Chelsea Handler
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images; Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Tim Allen's (sort of) rich deal, Vodka synergy and a streak in jeopardy.

Rewired for Today's Landscape: Tim Allen's deal illustrates the power of a proven star and the diminished expectations of talent in a changing TV landscape. Luring the star back to ABC for his untitled pilot wasn't cheap. Sources who have seen his contract say he's getting $220,000 per episode with a 7.5 percent backend (off adjusted gross) and a $1 million penalty if the pilot doesn't go to series. It's a top-market deal, but one source tells THR, "Five years ago, a major star like that would've gotten $400,000 per episode and a $3 million to $4 million penalty."

Are You There, Cross-Promotion?
The likely pickup for Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea, the comedy based on Chelsea Handler's book, fits nicely with NBCUniversal's plan for synergy. Handler, also the show's producer and occasional co-star, will be able to cross-promote the show on her E! talker, much as the conglomerate's Ryan Seacrest does with his Kardashian fare.

Friends in High Places
NBC's thriller Awake (formerly REM) has a fan in 20th TV's Jennifer Salke, who became invested in creator-producer Kyle Killen while working on Lone Star. "This is her baby," one source says. Why that matters? Salke and her husband, Fox TV chief Bert Salke, are close friends of Greenblatt, and she is poised to join him soon in a top job at NBC, multiple sources tell THR.

Streak on Life Support
If the CBS pilot The Doctor doesn't go, director David Nutter's streak of 16 pickups will end. His Christine Lahti vehicle has buzz, but it's unlikely CBS will order two medical dramas for fall. And at press time, the Susannah Grant project appears to have the edge.