Steve Carell, Jessica Biel Ink Pod Deals With Universal Cable Productions

Jessica Biel Oscars Arrivals Close Up - P 2014
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Jessica Biel Oscars Arrivals Close Up - P 2014

Universal Cable Productions is adding Steve Carell and Jessica Biel to its roster.

The studio has inked Carell's Carousel Television and Biel's Iron Ocean Productions to exclusive development deals, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Under the pacts, the production companies will create and develop new projects for the studio. They join a roster of producers with pod deals at UCP, including Gale Anne Hurd's (The Walking Dead) Valhalla Entertainment, Doug Liman's (Suits) Hypnotic Films as well as Tim Kring (Heroes) and Gideon Raff (Homeland).  

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"At a time when compelling content is thriving across multiple platforms and distribution channels, it’s critical to partner with creative individuals who can develop potentially evergreen entertainment," UCP president and chief content officer Jeff Wachtel said. “Premier talent like Steve Carell and Jessica Biel will bring a tremendous added value to our development slate."

Carell's Carousel -- overseen by vp Campbell Smith -- is teaming with UCP for an untitled hourlong drama about the Golden Age of Hollywood in its budding infancy, with the story focusing on actual Hollywood events and characters dating back 100 years. The banner also has two pilots set up at TBS, including Rashida Jones starrer Tribeca. On the unscripted front, Carell is teaming with Shine America for a remake of French improv series Riot (formerly known as Slide Show). On the film side, Carell is under a separate deal with Warner Bros.

"Carousel is thrilled to be in this new deal with UCP. They share our vision, and they're great kissers,” said Carell, who returns to the studio following his previous three-year pact from 2009-12. “We're looking forward to working with everyone on the UCP team.”

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Biel, meanwhile, created Iron Ocean with Michelle Purple with the goal to produce feature and TV content with strong feminine voices. The banner currently has two projects in development with UCP, including Melissa Hilfers' Pop Culture, which tells the story of a bachelor living the high life in New York who has a change of heart after babysitting his nephew. He hires an actress to play his wife and winds up falling for her. UCP-based Michael Rauch (Royal Pains) will executive produce the drama.

Additionally, Geoff Moore and David Posamentier are prepping Moguls, a workplace comedy about eccentric 20-somethings who work at a Colorado ski resort and the changes that ensue when the mountain is purchased by a corporate behemoth.

"Steve Carell and Campbell Smith at Carousel Television bring to UCP an undeniable comedic flair and wit, while Michelle Purple and Jessica Biel of Iron Ocean Productions bring a strong female sensibility to a broad range of projects. Diversified product is a key component of our development strategy as we focus on properties that have long-term asset potential,” UCP exec vp development Dawn Parouse Olmstead said.

Carell is repped by WME, Media Four and Lavely & Singer; Biel is with CAA, LBI Entertainment and Jackoway Tyerman.

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