Winer a winner with 20th deal

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Hot writer-director Jason Winer has inked his first overall deal with 20th Century Fox TV, the studio behind his well-regarded pilots "The Adventures of Big Handsome Guy and His Little Friend" and "Giants of Radio" as well as "Sluts," which he directed.

Under the one-year pact, Winer will develop and direct his own projects and also can be assigned to a 20th TV pilot or series.

20th TV chairman Gary Newman said the studio's decision to sign Winer under a deal was based on "the incredible work he's done" on his projects for the studio in the past two years.

"He has a great voice and sensibility, but we also see him as a valuable director to have on our roster who can come in and help a writer realize their vision," Newman said. "We think he has a great career in front of him and would like it to be with us."

Winer made headlines this past development season when he took the $150,000 he got from 20th TV to write a script and used it to film the full-length semi-scripted pilot "Giants," which drew the attention of the broadcast networks and was picked up by CBS for fall consideration.

Under his overall deal with 20th TV, Winer said he plans to do another off-cycle pilot like "Giants," which he plans to shoot in November.

This time, Winer is looking "to take it to the next level not just thematically and tonally but also attracting interesting high-level cast."

"Giants" was filmed mostly with friends from the improv circuit whom Winer recruited to work for nominal fees.

While the project will stay on the low-cost side, Winer said that this time "we want to partner with a network right out of the gate to work with a larger budget and push the envelope."

He said of the project, "It will be totally unique but in a similar fun, loose semi-scripted style."

In addition to the semi-scripted pilot he is working on, Winer plans to direct a more conventional single-camera pilot for the studio, which might also be written by him.

This past development season, he penned and directed "Giants," directed "Sluts" and penned another pilot script. He is looking to top that this year.

"I want to be at least as productive under the deal as I was last year," he said.

With all the attention he has been getting among industry types, thanks to the cult following for "Handsome Guy" and "Giants," Winer said he had options but never considered going to another studio.

"Now I have a creative home and one that is supportive and understanding of my voice as 20th has proven to be," he said.

Winer is repped by ICM, manager Matthew Weinberg and attorney Todd Rubenstein.
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