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New deal for CBS swinger

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"Swingtown" creator/executive producer Mike Kelley has inked a two-year overall deal with CBS Paramount Network TV, the studio behind the drama about partner-swapping couples in 1970s suburbia.

Under the seven-figure deal, Kelley is developing "BiCoastal" —another one-hour exploring relationships, marriage and sexuality, which has been set up at Showtime. Co-produced by Sean Hayes' CBS Par-based Hazy Mills Prods., it centers on a successful man who struggles to balance family life with his wife and kids in Los Angeles as he falls in love with a man in New York.

"It has a lot of the watermarks of things I love to write about — people with secrets and high-stakes love lives," Kelley said.

Compared to "Swingtown," which was based on his childhood memories of his parents and their swinger friends, "I want to give 'BiCoastal' a bit of a harder edge and heightened sense of drama," Kelley said.

"Swingtown" exec producer/ director Alan Poul is in negotiations to join Kelley on "BiCoastal," whose concept was conceived by Doug Stockstill.

This marks the first overall deal for Kelley, who worked on the CBS/CBS Par drama "Jericho" before creating "Swingtown."

"Mike proved himself on 'Jericho'; he shined brightly off of that staff," CBS Par TV president David Stapf said. "He is that rare combination of a fantastic writer, great showrunner and great developer."

Kelley was a latecomer to Hollywood. With a portfolio heavy on beer commercials, he moved from his native Chicago to Los Angeles when he was 26 and did the obligatory bartending and auditioning until his neighbor Jennifer Johnson, then an assistant and aspiring writer, introduced him to screenwriting. (Johnson is now a co-exec producer on CBS' "Cold Case.")

After several gigs as a script coordinator on shows, Kelley got his break on NBC's "Providence," which was followed by writing jobs on "One Tree Hill" and "The O.C."

CBS has yet to make a decision about the future of "Swingtown," which aired in the summer to modest ratings. Meanwhile, CBS Par TV has been exploring the possibility of migrating the drama to cable. CBS entertainment chief Nina Tassler and Stapf continue to be strong supporters of the series, which was key to Kelley's decision to call CBS Par home.

"'Swingtown' is my priority, and I believe there is a home for the show, hopefully it's on CBS," UTA-repped Kelley said. "But if not, we'd be happy just to be able to continue to tell these characters' story." (partialdiff)