Jake Kasdan, Melvin Mar Renew Overall Deal With Disney's 20th TV

The producing partners ('Speechless,' 'Fresh Off the Boat,' 'Bless This Mess') have been with the studio since 2012.
Courtesy of 20th TV
Jake Kasdan (left), Melvin Mar

Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar are sticking with 20th Century Fox TV.

The longtime producing partners (Fresh Off the Boat, Speechless) have renewed their overall deal with the now Disney-owned studio. Under the four-year pact, Kasdan and Mar will develop, produce and direct projects for broadcast, cable and streaming platforms via their Detective Agency banner.

The duo currently executive produce the ABC comedy Bless This Mess, which moved over to the Disney-owned broadcaster after Fox passed on the project last season. The series starring Lake Bell and Dax Shepard is set to debut in April. Additionally, Kasdan and Mar — who have known one another since the TV-industry indie feature The TV Set — both exec produce ABC's Fresh Off the Boat and Speechless. They also are currently in production on the ABC comedy pilot Heart of Life, which is based on the John Mayer song of the same name. On the film side, they are in production on the Jumanji sequel.

The new deal keeps Kasdan and Mar in business with Fox execs Peter Rice and Dana Walden, who both moved over to senior leadership roles at Disney, and 20th TV toppers Jonnie Davis and Howard Kurtzman.

"For eight years, 20th has been a fantastic and supportive place to work,” Kasdan and Mar said Tuesday in a joint statement. “We’re thrilled that Peter, Dana, Jonnie and Howard are bringing us along, as they begin this next chapter."
Kasdan, who has been with 20th TV with Mar since 2012, directed the pilot for Fox's New Girl and executive produced the comedy's 146-episode run before reteaming with creator Liz Meriwether for Bless This Mess.

"Jake and Melvin have been a dream team to this studio for years, and keeping them here was a huge priority for Howard and me,” said Davis, president of creative affairs at 20th TV. “They are smart, wildly talented guys with spectacular taste and incredible creative instincts. They love big swings and they elevate everything. They are also fun and collaborative creative partners — everyone wants to work with them. We wish we could clone them, but the fact is they are both so prolific we don’t need to. We couldn’t be happier they are staying in the family."

Kasdan and Mar are repped by WME and attorneys John Sloss and Jacqueline Eckhouse.

Kasdan and Mar become the third overall deal 20th TV has unveiled since the studio changed hands to Disney as part of Fox's $71.3 billion asset sale. They join recently announced showrunners I. Marlene King (Pretty Little Liars) and Drew Goddard (Angel), as well as a roster that includes Steve Levitan (Modern Family), Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) and Lee Daniels (Empire), among countless others.

The duo become the latest proven hitmakers to ink a new overall deal as the market for top talent continues to escalate given the emergence of multiple new streaming platforms as media behemoths like Disney look to compete with more established tech giants including Netflix and Amazon. On Monday, Pretty Little Liars showrunner King left her home of a decade at Warners for a rich deal with Disney's 20th TV, while Universal TV earlier this month re-signed The Good Place creator Mike Schur to a five-year, nine-figure pact after losing Mindy Kaling to Warner Bros. TV (where she signed a six-year, eight-figure overall deal). Fresh Off the Boat showrunner Nahnatchka Khan also moved her overall deal from 20th TV to Universal TV in February.