Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are putting down TV roots. The successful feature writers, who made a return to the small screen with Fox's "Fringe" and CBS' reinvention of "Hawaii 5-0" this pilot season, have inked their first TV studio deal -- a rich three-year overall pact with 20th Century Fox TV. Under the deal, which begins March 1, the duo will launch a TV production company.
They plan to write projects as well as work with other scribes -- people they bring in or talent from 20th TV's roster. To do that, Kurtzman and Orci plan to build an infrastructure and hire executives. 20th TV chairman Dana Walden called Kurtzman and Orci's brand and types of shows "a perfect fit" for the studio. "Our ideal producers are like Alex and Bob, who are incredibly versatile and talent magnets for their peers in the writing community, for actors and directors," she said.
Orci said the two wanted to get their DreamWorks-based feature company up and running before making a move into television.
Their biggest test came just before the November 2007 WGA strike, when they had to get four movies ready for production: "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "Star Trek," which they co-wrote, and "Eagle Eye" and "The Proposal," the first films developed through their company that they produced. Add to that the "Fringe" pilot, which they were shepherding with co-creator J.J. Abrams at the same time.
"It was trial by fire," Orci said. "What that taught us is how to split our time and maintain the quality." Kurtzman and Orci's ability to multi-task was a big draw for 20th TV, which signed them after the two had been courted by multiple studios and networks. "We're the lucky winners of the Kurtzman-Orci contest," Walden said.
In making their choice for a TV home, Orci and Kurtzman reached out to producers who have built production companies at 20th TV. "We looked at all the creative heroes that we've had: Steven Bochco, Shawn Ryan, Ryan Murphy," Kurtzman said.
"That's the kind of brand-building we want to go for." Kurtzman and Orci, who are working on a "Star Trek" sequel and the Daniel Craig starrer "Cowboys and Aliens" on the feature side, continue to serve as consulting producers on "Fringe" and are executive producers on CBS/CBS Studios' "Hawaii 5-0," which they co-wrote with Peter Lenkov, and on the "Transformers" CG-animated series for upcoming Hasbro/Discovery channel the Hub.
The duo, who got their break on Abrams' ABC drama "Alias," is repped by CAA and Michael Gendler.