Dushku busy with Fox TV

Studio, net have plans for actress

Eliza Dushku has inked a development deal with Fox Broadcasting Co. and 20th Century Fox Television.

Under the pact, said to be in the mid- to high-six figures, the network and the studio will develop projects tailor-made for the actress. They also will approach her with existing pitches and scripts.

"This is a business of instincts, and she's proved she can do it in two projects for us," Fox Entertainment chairman Peter Liguori said.

Dushku was the star of Fox's drama series "Tru Calling." This past development season, she stepped in to lead the ensemble of the network's pilot "Nurses" when the project changed creative direction after major casting had been completed. While the two projects preceded Fox's new entertainment president, Kevin Reilly, he also enthusiastically backed a deal with Dushku, Liguori said.

"Kevin and I think she's awesome," he said. "She's absolutely charismatic onscreen; she is riveting, she is fresh, she is smart, (and) she is unbelievably feminine while also having that toughness to her. She's a TV star, but most definitely we know she's a Fox star."

Dushku's history with 20th TV, which produced "Tru" and "Nurses," goes back even further than her relationship with Fox.

The studio cast her in her breakout role as Faith on WB Network's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," a role she reprised on the "Buffy" spinoff, "Angel," also for 20th TV.

20th TV chairman Dana Walden said Dushku was at the top of the list of actresses it wanted to pursue for development.

"First and foremost, she is a remarkably beautiful person inside and out," Walden said. "She is smart and thoughtful, there is soulfullness to her that shines from a mile away, and she is a pleasure to work with. She is also tremendously versatile -- she has a great comedic talent and can handle deeply emotional material."

On the big screen, Dushku next appears in "Nobel Son," opposite Bill Pullman and Alan Rickman, and in "Sex and Breakfast," opposite Macauly Culkin and Kuno Becker.

She is repped by the Gersh Agency.