Matthew Perry project goes to ABC

Single-camera comedy lands rich deal at network

ABC won the Matthew Perry sweepstakes.

After heated bidding, the network has landed a single-camera project starring the "Friends" alum in one of the richest deals to date this development season.

The untitled comedy, based on an idea by Perry, has received a pilot commitment with series-size penalties to producing studio Sony TV and Perry.

The project, which Perry will write with Sony-based Alex Barnow and Mark Firek, became an instant hot property when it hit the marketplace this week, with ABC and "Friends" home NBC going toe-to-toe in pursuit of the show.

Thomas Schlamme is attached to direct the comedy, which stars Perry as a self-involved manager of a second-rate sports arena who begins to re-evaluate his life on his 40th birthday.

Perry, Barnow, Firek and Schlamme are executive producing with Sony TV-based Jamie Tarses.

The deal gives ABC a second show fronted by a "Friends" star: Courteney Cox headlines the network's freshman comedy "Cougar Town."

It also reunites Tarses with the network she once ran as entertainment president.