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'Mother' creators ink new deal with 20th TV

Carter Bays, Craig Thomas taking out new comedy project

Just two weeks after "How I Met Your Mother" hit its 100th episode, series creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have inked a rich new deal with the show's producer 20th Century Fox TV and are taking out a new comedy project, their first since "HIMYM."

Under the duo's new three-year pact, which begins in June, Bays and Thomas will continue to run "HIMYM" while also developing new projects. If "HIMYM" continues to be successful, Bays and Thomas' deal is estimated to reach eight figures, a significant raise from their current contact.

Bays and Thomas wrote the untitled new comedy on spec with "HIMYM" writer-producers Kourtney Kang and Joe Kelly while the four have been working on the CBS series' current fifth season.

Set in Pittsburgh, the hybrid multicamera romantic comedy revolves around a young couple and their friends.

" 'HIMYM' is about people in their late 20s and early 30s going through that second wave of growing up, and the ups and downs and the humor of that," Thomas said. "This is a logical extension."

Added Bays, "The new show is similar tonally to 'HIMYM' and investigates the next chapter, the next stage of adulthood."

The project is certain to spark interest when it hits the marketplace this week. But even if it takes off, Bays and Thomas vowed they will never abandon "HIMYM."

After a slow start, "HIMYM," which was based on the duo's personal experiences, has grown in into a bona fide hit for CBS as well as 20th TV, which has netted rich syndication deals for the show.

UTA-repped Bays and Thomas landed at 20th some eight years ago when the twentysomething writers headed to Hollywood after a five-year stint on "Late Show With David Letterman."

"We couldn't ask for anything more than a studio believing in us from such a young age," Bays said.

Not much has changed for the past eight years, 20th TV chairman Dana Walden said. "They are still the same guys who were young and enthusiastic and loved the business and were so much fun to talk to," she said.