Darren Star Inks Big Overall Deal With Universal Television

EXCLUSIVE: After a decade at Paramount Global and its predecessors ViacomCBS and Viacom, Darren Star is making a move. In a competitive situation, the prolific TV creator of such shows as Beverly Hills, 90210, Sex and the City and Emily In Paris, has signed a big multi-year overall deal at Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group. No one is commenting on the size of the pact, but I hear it is in the eight figures and in the top tier of premium overall deals; certainly the biggest we have seen since the end of the strikes.

Under the pact, Star will develop and produce new series projects for broadcast and streaming through his Darren Star Productions exclusively for Universal Television. Outside of the deal, he will continue as executive producer/showrunner on his popular Netflix series Emily In Paris, which is currently filming Season 4, if it is renewed for a fifth and sixth season.

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This marks one of the first major talent deals since the NBCUniversal restructuring last year which saw television production move under Donna Langley, now Chairman of NBCUniversal Studio Group and Chief Content Officer, as part of the newly formed NBCUniversal Studio Group that spans film and TV. It signals a focus on creators for both Langley and Universal Studio Group Chairman Pearlena Igbokwe as they continue to build the film and TV studios’ talent rosters.

“Darren is a singular voice who has created signature shows for multiple networks and platforms since the beginning of his career, from the hills of Beverly to the streets of NYC to the Champs-Elysees,” Igbokwe said. “As we think about the talent we want to bring to the studios, Donna and I often talk about brand-defining storytellers, and Darren is one of the few brand names whose stories have entertained television audiences for over three decades. We look forward to championing his remarkable vision.”

Netflix’s Emily In Paris, produced by MTV Entertainment Studios, was one of two hits series Star created for Paramount, along with Younger, which ran on TV Land/Paramount+ for seven seasons.

Going forward, Star intends to continue to make series for internal and outside buyers.

“Donna Langley inspires me with her vision and passion for storytelling, and I’m excited to work with Pearlena Igbokwe and the Universal Television team,” he said. “I am thrilled to embark on this new creative partnership with NBCUniversal, where I will have the unique ability to develop shows for the internal portfolio, including Peacock, as well as outside platforms and networks.”

Star and Jeffrey Richman recently co-created the MTV Entertainment Studio-produced comedy Uncoupled, which was picked up by sibling Showtime after the series’ cancellation by Netflix after one season. Showtime recently opted not to proceed with the second season, which had been written. At the time, Star had already started meeting with other studios for a new overall deal following two back-to-back overall pacts at Paramount.

Throughout his career, Star has helped put new networks on the original programming map with signature series. He did it at Fox with Beverly Hills, 90210 and spinoff Melrose Place, at HBO with the Emmy-winning Sex and the City, which has a revival on Max, and at TV Land with Younger. Additionally, Emily In Paris has been Netflix’s most watched original half-hour comedy series for years, sampled by 58 million households in its first season.

Star is repped by UTA and attorney Sam Fischer at Ziffren Brittenham.

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