3 Fox units sew up deal for Murphy


After months of negotiations, "Nip/Tuck" creator Ryan Murphy has inked a rich new deal with FX, 20th Century Fox Television and Fox Broadcasting Co.

The eight-figure pact includes a commitment for Murphy to continue on the hit FX series for three more seasons. He also will develop new drama and comedy projects through a three-year overall deal with 20th TV, which begins immediately and includes a first-look component with FBC.

FX is said to be paying the lion's share in the multiparty pact. The deal with Murphy is believed to be the biggest ever for the cable network.

With Murphy aboard, FX has greenlighted an expanded fifth season of the plastic surgery drama starring Julian McMahon and Dylan Walsh with an order for 22 episodes.

FX president John Landgraf called "Nip/Tuck" "one of the most wonderfully strange and original television series ever produced."

"We felt we owed 'Nip/Tuck's' fans and FX's viewers nothing less than Ryan Murphy's inimitable vision for the remainder of the series' life," Landgraf said. "I've developed a deep affection and respect for Ryan while working with him, so I'm also very gratified to see him well compensated for his talents, which I know will benefit 20th TV and FBC as greatly as they have FX."

For the past three years, "Nip/Tuck," produced by Warner Bros. TV and Shephard/Robin Prods., has been the top basic cable show among adults 18-49, commanding the most ad dollars.

The 22-episode pickup for "Nip/Tuck" is the biggest season order ever for FX and up from the 15 episodes produced in "Nip/Tuck's" two most recent seasons. Sources said the extra segments were ordered to take advantage of Murphy's availability before he gets in the thick of development for 20th TV. Murphy already is at work penning the "Nip/Tuck" fifth-season opener — set for the fall — and breaking stories with the show's writing team.

20th presidents Dana Walden and Gary Newman said they have been "enormous fans" of "Nip/Tuck" since the show's pilot episode.

"Ryan has such a unique vision and distinctive voice, and his storytelling on that series is legendary for its surprising twists and turns while still staying true to its incredibly vivid and compelling characters," Walden said.

Added Newman, "He is exactly the kind of creator that you want to be in business with over the long term, and we can't wait to hear his ideas for his next series."

The first-look deal with FBC reunites Murphy with the network's entertainment president, Peter Liguori, who as president and CEO of FX greenlighted "Nip/Tuck" in 2003.

"Since my first meeting with Ryan, it was clear that he has a unique, singular voice," Liguori said. "Working closely with him and watching his star rise, I admire his zeal, dedication and creative courage."

Murphy's deal is similar to the three-year pact that Shawn Ryan, creator of FX's "The Shield," inked in 2005. Ryan's deal also covers his services as executive producer/showrunner on the FX series as well as an overall deal with 20th TV, under which he is executive producer/showrunner on CBS' "The Unit." It does not include a first-look pact with FBC.

After a start in journalism, Murphy segued to screenwriting in the late 1990s when his romantic comedy script "Why Can't I Be Audrey Hepburn?" was purchased by Steven Spielberg. Murphy's first television series was WB Network's "Popular."

On the feature side, Murphy most recently wrote and directed "Running With Scissors," starring Annette Bening, Brian Cox, Alec Baldwin and Gwyneth Paltrow. His next film, "Dirty Tricks," will star Meryl Streep and Bening.

Murphy is repped by CAA.