Ryan polishes 20th TV badge

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Shawn Ryan has inked a new three-year, eight-figure overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television.

The "Shield" creator is launching a production company, Midd Kid Prods., and has tapped veteran Fox TV Studios executive Marney Hochman Nash to run it.

Under the pact with 20th TV, Ryan will develop new projects through his company, creating some of them and supervising writers on others.

"Shawn has fantastic creative instincts, he is a wonderful writer and a very savvy businessman, which is a pretty rare combination of skills," 20th TV chairman Dana Walden said. "His new deal is designed for us to help him become the next Steven Bochco, David E. Kelley or John Wells; we consider him a person who has the potential to be in that league."

Ryan said continuing his "wonderful working relationship" with Walden and fellow studio chairman Gary Newman was important to him.

In addition to "Shield," which is headed to its seventh and final season, Ryan is executive producing the CBS/20th TV military drama "The Unit," which he developed with creator David Mamet. He also is showrunning the Fox/20th TV supernatural drama "The Oaks," whose pilot will be filmed in November.

"In my heart, I'm just a writer. Doing something like this is fresh and new for me, and I didn't know exactly how to do it," Ryan said about launching a production company.

He looked around for a creative partner with development experience but didn't have to look far: Hochman Nash, who had developed "Shield" with him when the project was a script at FtvS and has overseen the series, became available.

"She's got a really unique story sense, her notes are always spot on, and she is a nice person," Ryan said.

After eight years at FtvS, senior vp scripted programming Hochman Nash is leaving the company when it's on a roll with four drama series on the air: FX's "Shield" and "The Riches," which she developed, as well as this summer's success stories "Burn Notice" on USA Network and "Saving Grace" on TNT.

"It's hard to leave when you're at a high, but it's also good to leave on a high," she said. "I've always wanted to be closer to production, to have a greater hand in shaping up the show. The opportunity to grow a company was very attractive to me, and there is no better person to do that with than Shawn Ryan, who is such a generous, creative spirit."

Ryan and Hochman Nash, who starts Monday at Midd Kid, already are developing a couple of projects with "Unit" writer-producers Sharon Lee Watson and Todd Kessler that will be taken to the networks shortly.

Ryan is repped by Endeavor, manager Larry Shuman and attorney Michael Gendler.

Kimberly Nordyke contributed to this report.
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