Nahnatchka Khan Moves Overall Deal From Fox to Universal TV

Nahnatchka Khan-Getty-H 2019
Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

Nahnatchka Khan is on the move.

The Fresh Off the Boat creator has signed an exclusive four-year overall deal with Universal Television said to be worth in the eight-figure range. The deal will see Khan leave 20th Century Fox Television, her home of more than a decade, to create and produce new projects for the NBCUniversal-owned studio.

During her decade-plus at 20th TV, Khan created and executive produced ABC's Don't Trust the B— in Apartment 23 and created the Disney-owned network's critically praised but perennial bubble comedy Fresh Off the Boat. She most recently completed postproduction on her feature film directorial debut, Always Be My Maybe, starring Ali Wong and Randall Park. The Netflix original is due this summer.

"Natch is a singular voice with a proven track record of success and versatility. She’s a highly sought-after writer, director, producer whose work reflects a deep commitment to the representation of women and diverse communities. We couldn’t ask for a better collaborator," Universal TV president Pearlena Igbokwe said Tuesday in a statement.

The Universal TV deal arrives a year after ABC passed on Khan's gender-flipped reboot of The Greatest American Hero. The comedy — which would have featured network TV's first "brown female superhero" — had been considered a frontrunner to go to series after casting New Girl grad Hannah Simone, who had been one of the most sought-after actresses last season. Sources told The Hollywood Reporter that the comedy felt "off-brand" for the Disney-owned network and ABC instead picked up Tim Doyle's comedy about an Irish-Catholic family in the 1970s.

Khan, who has developed multiple series during her time with 20th TV, does not have a pilot in contention this season. Her previous pilots included ABC's Jalen vs. Everybody, Fox's Fatrick and NBC's Where I'm From, none of which went forward. Khan exits her 20th TV deal as the studio is poised to become a Disney property once the Mouse House completes its $72 billion Fox asset acquisition. Had she re-signed with 20th TV, she would have worked directly for Disney, the same company that moved Fresh Off the Boat to one of TV's biggest death slots (Fridays) and that passed on Greatest American Hero.

With Khan's move to Universal TV, Fresh Off the Boat will need to find a new showrunner if it is to return for a sixth season. (And considering Disney will soon own the comedy, that isn't totally out of the question.)

Khan gives Universal TV a top comedy showrunner at a time when the studio is tasked with supplying content to its broadcast sibling and other networks (see NBC's New Amsterdam and CBS' FBI); cable (Freeform's The Bold Type) and streaming (Russian Doll) and Comcast's own upcoming direct-to-consumer platform, which is set to launch in 2020.  

The Khan pact arrives as competition for top talent has reached a fever pitch as Warners, Comcast and Disney all plan their own direct-to-consumer platforms in a bid to compete with Netflix, which has swooped in to sign major players away from their longtime studio homes (see Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, who left ABC and Fox, respectively). Khan's deal arrives as two other Universal TV-based comedy producers — Mike Schur and Mindy Kaling — are also in the market for new overall deals.

Khan is repped by WME and attorney Marc Rindner.