Comedian George Lopez is poised to become the latest TV personality to profit from a lucrative new kind of sitcom deal.
In the TV industry, it’s become known as the “10/90″ deal, in which a cable network agrees to buy 10 episodes of a prospective series, with an option to commit right away to as many as 90 more if the original 10 achieve the ratings the network hopes for.
Lopez, 51, has a deal to develop a “10/90″ sitcom with Lionsgate, the film and TV production company. No cable network has yet come forward to commit to the first 10 episodes of the proposed new Lopez show, which is said to be a Latino family comedy.
Just this week, the Lopez project got a showrunner: Veteran sitcom producer Matt Williams, co-creator of “Roseanne” and “Home Improvement.” The news of Williams’ hiring — a sign that this new Lopez series is on a fast track — was reported on various entertainment Web sites late Friday, including here on The Hollywood Reporter site, THR.com.
These “10/90″ deals can be hugely profitable for the people involved. For one thing, a network commitment for up to 90 episodes of any TV show in one fell swoop was virtually unheard-of in the TV business until these deals began to be made in just the last few years. Moreover, these “10/90s” are a cable-only phenomenon, as the broadcast networks have steadfastly stayed away from them.
Who’s profiting from the “10/90s”? So far, three big names come to mind: Tyler Perry, who’s producing “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” for TBS; Ice Cube, who’s behind the sitcom adaptation of “Are We There Yet?,” also on TBS; and Charlie Sheen, who may make as much as $200 million from his “Anger Management” sitcom on FX, according to THR.
The stories about Lopez hiring Matt Williams don’t say whether Lopez himself will star in the proposed Latino comedy he is developing — an indication that Lopez may be taking a behind-the-scenes role in this one.