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Ted Lasso co-creator Bill Lawrence has gotten his pay raise.
Following months of negotiations, Lawrence has inked a new five-year, nine-figure overall deal renewal with his longtime home at Warner Bros. Television. Sources say the new pact includes a sizable salary increase from the five-year, eight-figure overall deal the Scrubs creator signed with the studio in 2018, before the Jason Sudeikis-led Apple comedy became a Peabody- and Emmy-winning cultural sensation. Lawrence’s new pact with the studio will begin in 2023 — after his current five-year deal expires — and run through 2028.
Sources note Lawrence, who had been seeking a salary bump since last fall, received multiple offers from other outlets that put the pressure on Warners to re-sign one of the studio’s most prolific creators for his fourth deal there.
Lawrence’s Doozer banner has been based at the Channing Dungey-led Warners since 2011 and will continue to create and develop new projects for the studio as well as supervise other up and coming writers. The new overall, which sources say quietly closed in December, arrives after months of renegotiations as Lawrence and the Ted Lasso stars had all been seeking salary increases to reflect the show’s success for the studio.
The stars, including Ted Lasso himself, Sudeikis, down to the last player on Richmond’s roster all received pay raises in September. As THR exclusively reported at the time, writers on the series — which garnered 20 Emmy nominations including outstanding comedy series and a pair of writing mentions en route to tying Glee as the most nominated freshman show, also scored significant salary bumps. Production on season three begins next month in London.
Included in the writer negotiations were separate deals for Brendan Hunt (Coach Beard) and Brett Goldstein (Roy Kent), each of whom have penned multiple episodes of the show and also exec produce. Goldstein also recently inked an overall deal of his own with Warners to write and create new projects for the studio.
Sudeikis, sources said in September, had already closed a deal for season three that pays him in the vicinity of $1 million an episode. The sum also includes creator fees and compensation for his role as the show’s head writer and exec producer. The deal, which also covers the two extra episodes of the current sophomore season, is up from the $250,000 to $300,000 per-episode sum he earned for seasons one and two. That deal was negotiated before Ted Lasso premiered to rave reviews. The series — based on an NBC Sports short from 2013 starring Sudeikis — was developed by the star alongside Lawrence, Hunt and writer Joe Kelly.
As for Lawrence, the prolific writer-producer (Scrubs, Cougar Town, Spin City), had been seeking a rich new deal that would admit him into the increasingly crowded nine-figure club other prolific showrunners like Shonda Rhimes, Greg Berlanti and Alex Kurtzman. Lawrence’s last deal with Warners — for whom he previously delivered such short-lived broadcast shows as Undateable, Rush Hour and Whiskey Cavalier — was negotiated before the streaming wars began in earnest as platforms including HBO Max, Apple and Peacock had yet to launch. His last eight-figure deal also didn’t reflect the breakout success of Ted Lasso, which has become Apple’s signature series.
Historically, creators could look forward to lucrative backend deals like syndication and international sales. With streaming having eliminated those revenue streams, Lawrence’s camp, sources told THR, was looking to update the deal and score a sizable up-front payment while also extending his tenure with the studio. Lawrence’s new five-year extension helps offset the lost backend of Ted Lasso and better reflects his value to the studio and its corporate sibling streamer, HBO Max.
Further helping Lawrence’s case is his ability to juggle multiple projects. In addition to Ted Lasso, Lawrence also has the animated Clone High revival and delivered the short-lived Head of the Class update for HBO Max. He also recently set Shrinking, a comedy starring Jason Segel who writes alongside Goldstein, which joins Bad Monkey with Vince Vaughn at Apple. Shrinking, announced in October, also contributed to negotiations for his new pact with Warners. Bad Monkey started production this week, while Shrinking is slated to start in the spring. Both shows were ordered straight to series, like Ted Lasso, at Apple.
Still to be determined, however, is how much longer Ted Lasso will run as Sudeikis has been open about having only a three-season plan for the show. Sources say Lawrence, Warners and Apple all would love for the “football is life” comedy to continue well beyond three seasons and that the September deals with actors also included options for subsequent seasons. Ultimately, the future of the show is up to Sudeikis, a father of two who spends six or seven months out of the year filming the show in London.
Lawrence is repped by ICM Partners and attorney Jared Levine.
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