'Friends' Co-creator Inks First-Look Deal With Disney's Fox 21

Marta Kauffman - Publicity - H 2020
Courtesy Fox 21

Fox 21 Television Studios has signed another A-list creator.

Friends co-creator and Grace and Frankie creator Marta Kauffman has signed a first-look deal with the Disney Television Studios unit. Under the multiyear deal, Kauffman's company, Okay Goodnight, will develop projects for linear and streaming platforms.

Okay Goodnight has already set up one project at Fox 21: The Dreamers, which it is developing along with The Littlefield Company (which also has a deal at Fox 21). Based on a novel by Karen Thompson Walker, the drama follows residents of a college town as a mysterious virus takes hold of the region.

"Marta Kauffman is a legend and a hero to a generation of writers and audiences alike, and she’s as talented and funny now as ever,” Fox 21 TV Studios president Bert Salke said Thursday in a statement. "We’re excited to be working with her and her partners Robbie [Rowe Tollin] and Hannah [Canter]. We see an incredibly bright future with them."

Kauffman is a big get for Fox 21, having co-created one of the most successful and beloved comedies of the past 30 years in Friends and what will be Netflix's longest-running original series (in number of episodes) when Grace and Frankie airs its seventh and final season in 2021.

She formed Okay Goodnight in 2014 with Tollin and Canter. Along with Grace and Frankie, the company produced the feature documentary Seeing Allred.

"We're thrilled to be working with the talented team at Fox 21," said Kauffman, who recently received the Norman Lear Achievement Award at the 2020 Producers Guild Awards. "Their creative sensibilities and commitment to quality storytelling align with ours at Okay Goodnight. We've been passionate about developing The Dreamers with the right partner and look forward to kicking off the relationship with such a powerful project."

Kauffman joins a list of creatives at Fox 21 that also includes Russian Doll co-creator Leslye Headland, Tom McCarthy (Spotlight, 13 Reasons Why), former Girls executive producer Jenni Konner and The Affair showrunner Sarah Treem. The studio is home to FX's Pose, Mayans MC and American Crime Story (all with FX Productions); USA's Queen of the South; National Geographic's Genius anthology; and the FX on Hulu pilot The Old Man starring Jeff Bridges, among others.