Mike Schur Inks Nine-Figure Overall Deal to Stay at Universal TV

Mike Schur - Universal Television Publicity -H 2019
Evans Vestal Ward/Universal Television

The Mike Schur sweepstakes has ended.

Universal Television, amid competition from streamers and other studios, has re-signed the Good Place creator to what sources say is a new multiyear overall deal said to be worth in the nine-figure range. Sources say the deal is for five years, at $25 million per.

The new pact will keep Schur at his longtime home at Universal Television, for whom he started his career as a writer on NBC's Saturday Night Live before moving to half-hour scripted comedy on The Office, Parks and Recreation and the Fox-turned-NBC comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the latter of which Schur co-created with Dan Goor. Both The Good Place and Brooklyn will return to NBC in the 2019-2020 broadcast season. He next has the NBC midseason comedy Abby's and a pilot starring Kal Penn in the works at the network. He also exec produces Netflix's Aziz Ansari comedy Master of None, which is awaiting word on its third season at the streamer.

"There are very few people in this business who have been as instrumental to the success of both NBC and Universal Television as Mike Schur,” NBC Entertainment co-chairmen George Cheeks and Paul Telegdy said Wednesday in a statement. “Mike is a comedy genius. His television résumé is second to none and we couldn’t be more excited to see all of the projects he’ll be developing in the coming years ahead.”

The Schur pact arrives as the market for overall deals has exploded thanks to the arrival of deep-pocketed streamers like Netflix. The streamer massively disrupted the market after signing broadcast-based staples Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy to nine-figure overall deals. That has forced traditional studios like Universal TV and Warner Bros. TV to back up the proverbial money truck to compete with Netflix, Amazon and upstart Apple for top talent. Schur was considered the most prolific name currently on the open market.

"Mike Schur will trump everyone," one top showrunner agent said of the current overall deals space. For Universal TV, reupping Schur to a new deal is the equivalent of Greg Berlanti remaining at Warner Bros. TV as the studio has kept its biggest comedy hitmaker amid massive offers from streamers. The studio has been aggressive in the overall deals space of late after seeing Mindy Kaling exit her home of more than a decade for a massive six-year, mid-eight-figure overall pact with Warner Bros. TV. UTV, meanwhile, signed Nahnatchka Khan to a rich four-year overall deal that will see the Fresh Off the Boat creator leave her longtime home at 20th Century Fox TV.

"Mike Schur’s imprint on NBCUniversal can’t be overstated and, as of today, remains uninterrupted,” Universal TV president Pearlena Igbokwe said. “I could not be more happy or proud.” 

The overall deals market has exploded as traditional studios fight for top talent as many major media behemoths (NBC parent Comcast, Disney and WarnerMedia) are launching streaming services of their own in a bid to compete with Netflix and other established direct-to-consumer platforms.

"I’m thrilled to be staying at NBC/Universal TV, my home since 1998,” Schur said. “First, because my creative partnership with Pearlena, George, Paul, Tracey Pakosta and Lisa Katz has provided me with all the support and freedom and guidance a writer and showrunner could ever ask for. And second, because there’s a ton of stuff in my office, just like boxes of papers and decorative candles and junk, and it would be super annoying to have to move it all.”    

Schur, who has won a pair of Emmys and a prestigious Peabody, is repped by UTA, 3 Arts Entertainment and Hansen Jacobson.