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February 23, 1996

ABC cinches three new sitcoms

By Lisa de Moraes
The Hollywood Reporter

A Jim Belushi sitcom created by Chuck Lorre, another series based on the Sabrina the Teen Witch comics and a sitcom pilot starring Elizabeth Perkins are among the deals that ABC Entertainment president Ted Harbert told affiliates about Thursday.

Brillstein-Grey Communications and Twentieth Century Fox TV are production partners on the Belushi project, in which he would play a divorced man who runs a Chicago bar, sources report. Lorre recently signed an overall deal at Twentieth Century Fox TV, while Brillstein-Grey has an overall deal to develop a TV series for Belushi.

Brillstein-Grey also has a pilot order from ABC for a sitcom to star Perkins as a woman who moves to New York to start a new career and a new life. Rob Ulin is creating and executive producing with Brad Grey and Bernie Brillstein.

Jim Burrows will direct the pilot, insiders said.

Harbert also told affiliates at their winter confab in Dallas that the network is in negotiations to buy a live-action half-hour sitcom based on the Archie Comics character Sabrina the Teen Witch.

Viacom Prods. is producing; sources say the production company auctioned the project based on a movie it had produced for sister company Showtime. Showtime will air the two-hour backdoor pilot in April.

Starring is Melissa Joan Hart, who headlined the series Clarissa Explains All, which had been telecast on another Viacom cable network, Nickelodeon. Steve Battaglio in New York contributed to this report.

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