'Cougar Town' Taps 'Gary Unmarried' Producer as New Showrunner

Ric Swartzlander Headshot - P 2012
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Ric Swartzlander Headshot - P 2012

Comedy veteran Ric Swartzlander will serve as the new showrunner as the former ABC comedy moves to TBS for its 15-episode fourth season.

Cougar Town has found a new leader.

Gary Unmarried’s Ric Swartzlander has been tapped to take over the ABC Studios comedy, which is making the move from ABC to TBS next season. The new showrunner comes with a lengthy resume of past comedy projects, including Ellen, Samantha Who? and 8 Simple Rules.

The news comes a week after Bill Lawrence confirmed that he and fellow co-creator Kevin Biegel were relinquishing day-to-day duties as the show heads into a 15-episode fourth season on the Turner-owned cable network. The duo, who did not appear alongside their cast at TBS’ May 16 upfront presentation, will serve as executive consultants on the series, which is not expected to see cost cuts in its jump to cable.

Lawrence's Doozer production banner inked a long-term deal last year with Warner Bros. TV, which allowed him to stay with the series only for the show’s third season before focusing all of his attention on development with the studio. Lawrence and WBTV had a pilot in contention at Fox, the semi-autobiographical comedy Like Father, which was not picked up for the 2012-13 season.

The former showrunner became something of a one-man publicity machine as he looked to drum up viewership for Cougar Town during the series' beleaguered third season on ABC. Among other efforts, Lawrence, along with Biegel and the cast, famously embarked on an unofficial publicity tour around the U.S. to screen and promote the show.

Email: Lacey.Rose@THR.com; Twitter: @LaceyVRose