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The Empire co-creator has renewed his overall deal with the Disney-backed studio, closing a new pact that extends his seven-year relationship with the former Fox asset. The news arrives as Daniels and his Lee Daniels Entertainment banner will return to broadcast television in the 2021-22 season with The Wonder Years update at ABC and the long-gestating Our Kind of People at Fox.
“I’m beyond grateful to continue my partnership with 20th, Dana Walden, Karey Burke and their amazing team, all of whom have wholeheartedly supported my vision over the past seven years,” said Daniels. “LDE has so many exciting projects in the works from some of today’s most fresh and distinct voices that I cannot wait to share with the world.”
This is Daniels’ first deal with the studio since Disney formally acquired 20th Television a few years ago. His last pact came in 2018, before regulators formally approved Disney’s $72 billion deal that saw Fox sell its TV studio. It’s also a good sign that Daniels remains happy at Disney after 20th Television last year recruited former ABC Entertainment president Burke to run the studio, with its longtime chief, Jonnie Davis, moving over to ABC Signature.
“Lee Daniels is a master storyteller and a beloved partner to all of us at 20th Television,” said Disney TV chairman of entertainment Dana Walden, whose relationship with Daniels dates back to her time at 20th. “He leaves an indelible mark on every project he touches. His relentless pursuit of authenticity is only matched by his deep respect for talent, and it’s no wonder that the greatest actors seize the opportunity to work with him. Karey and I look forward to continuing our relationship with Lee and collaborating on many more extraordinary stories ahead.”
In addition to The Wonder Years (from writer Saladin Patterson) and Our Kind of People (written by Star’s Karin Gist), Daniels and his LDE banner is also exec producing drama pilot The Spook Who Sat by the Door, in the works at FX, a Waiting to Exhale update for ABC, a Sammy Davis Jr. miniseries (awaiting a network) and series pickup Ms. Pat for streamer BET+, with the latter produced outside of Daniels’ 20th TV deal.
Daniels is repped by CAA and Hansen Jacobson.
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