Olmstead: 2 more at 20th

'Break' man in new overall deal

"Prison Break" executive producer/showrunner Matt Olmstead has inked a new two-year overall deal with series producer 20th Century Fox TV.

Under the seven-figure pact, which has an option for a third year, Olmstead will continue at the helm of Fox's "Break" and develop projects for the studio.

He already is dabbling in development with "Prison Break: Cherry Hill," a potential "Prison Break" spinoff set at a women's facility, which he is penning with "Break" co-exec producer Zack Estrin. The project has received a script commitment by Fox (HR 10/24).

" 'Prison Break' is an amazing series for the studio, impacting audiences around the world, and much of that is due to the excellent showrunning Matt has done on it," 20th TV chairman Gary Newman said.

20th TV is the only studio home Olmstead has ever known.

Following a freelance assignment for Stephen Bochco's CBS drama "Brooklyn South" in 1997, Bochco gave Olmstead his first full-time writing job on the veteran producer's gritty ABC drama "NYPD Blue," which was produced by 20th TV. Olmstead rose through the ranks on "NYPD" from a staff writer to executive producer, and after the Emmy-winning series ended its run in 2005, he joined a new 20th TV series, Paul Scheuring's "Break," right after the pilot.

After almost a decade at the studio, Olmstead didn't look elsewhere before renewing his vows with 20th TV and its chairmen, Newman and Dana Walden.

"I wanted to stay, because it's been great here," he said. "Dana and Gary are protective and encouraging, and they have a very collegial relationship with the Fox network."

The close ties between 20th TV and Fox helped get "Cherry Hill" off the ground. The project, exec produced by Olmstead, Estrin, Scheuring and Dawn Parouse, centers on Molly, an upper-middle-class wife who seeks out Michael (Wentworth Miller) and Lincoln (Dominic Purcell) after suffering a family tragedy at the hands of the Company. Molly will be introduced as a regular character on "Break" this season.

If "Cherry" goes to series, Olmstead would have to focus his attention on the new show, but he is not worried about "Break."

"Its staff is completely populated by first-draft writers and future showrunners," he said. "If we have to go work on the spinoff, there are plenty of heavy hitters at 'Break' to help out."

Olmstead, who also co-created and exec produced ABC's "Blind Justice," is repped by Endeavor and attorney Stuart Rosenthal.
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