'Death' becomes cagey Reo

Yuspa, Goldsmith bring mentor to Fox comedy

"My Wife and Kids" co- creator/executive producer Don Reo has joined Fox's comedy series " 'Til Death" as executive producer/showrunner.

Reo will oversee day-to-day operations on the multicamera comedy, recently picked up for a fourth season. He will be an exec producer alongside series creators Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith, who also have a new comedy pilot, "The Fish Tank," in the running at CBS.

The Sony-produced "Death," which has defied the odds with a string of renewals despite modest ratings, underwent a major creative retooling this season when its two-couple premise was dropped to focus on the older couple, Eddie (Brad Garrett) and Joy (Joely Fisher), and Eddie's brother Kenny (J.B. Smoove).

Reo has not begun to outline next season — production on "Death's" third season wrapped last month — but he plans to continue to "exploit the talent that's there and play on (the trio's) strengths."

Reo, a veteran comedy writer, worked for Jackie Gleason and said he has been a huge fan of Garrett since seeing his portrayal of the comedy legend in CBS' 2002 biopic "Gleason."

Reo gave Yuspa and Goldsmith their first staff writing gig on the 1996 CBS comedy "Pearl."

"They're enormously talented kids," he said of the married writer-producers.

Most of all, though, joining "Death" was a great opportunity, said Reo, repped by Paradigm.

"These jobs are hard to come by, especially with comedy not doing so well now," he said. (partialdiff)