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FX strikes deal for sitcom with Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence

FX has struck a deal for a new sitcom starring Martin Lawrence and Kelsey Grammer as lawyers who form an unlikley partnership.

Under the terms of the deal with Lionsgate Television and Debmar-Mercury, FX has agreed to air ten episodes of the untitled sitcom and if it delivers decent ratings, the cable channel will commit to an additional 90 episodes.

The agreement is similar to the deal FX has with Lionsgate and Debmar-Mercuy for the Charlie Sheen sitcom "Anger Management and the upcoming comedy "Saint George," starring George Lopez.

Veteran comedy producers Bob Boyett and Robert Horn, whose credits include "Family Matters," "Perfect Strangers," "Living Single" and "Designing Women" will executive produce and write the Grammer-Lawrence project.

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“With the merging of two comedic geniuses, as well as two legendary showrunners, we couldn’t have a stronger team on board for this show and can’t wait to get to work,” said Chuck Saftler, president of program strategy and chief operating officer of FX Networks.

The sitcom marks Grammer's return to comedy after his critically acclaimed portrayal of a physically ailing but devious Chicago mayor in the Starz drama "Boss," which ran two seasons. Grammer won multiple Emmys for "Frasier."

The 10-90 model is not without risks. While the shows are produced at much lower budgets than a typical sitcom, if a show starts to fade in the ratings, the network is still on the hook for the whole order. "Anger Management" got off to a strong start for FX but then the ratings took a tumble. Earlier this week, co-star Selma Blair was removed from the show after clashing with Sheen about his work ethic.

While the typical sitcom shoots one episode a week, the 10-90 model requires shooting two in a week. That makes it more difficult to make creative adjustments to a show once it is in production.

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Follow Joe Flint on Twitter @JBFlint.

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