Bill Lawrence, the top comedy showrunner at the moment amid the enormous critical and commercial success of Ted Lasso, is staying put at Warner Bros. TV Group through 2028. After lengthy negotiations, Emmy winner Lawrence, who had a little time left on his current overall pact at the studio, has closed a blockbuster new five-year deal for his Doozer production company, I have learned. No one is commenting but sources value the pact at more than $100 million, catapulting Lawrence into the very top tier of TV showrunners.
Like other overall agreements of that caliber in the era of Peak TV, the path to this one was not straight-forward, with some sources I spoke to calling it a wild ride. I hear Warner Bros. originally balked at Lawrence’s outsized financial ask. Because he is still under an overall arrangement at the studio, the Scrubs creator could not go on the open market and officially test the waters.
But I hear Lawrence’s top platform collaborator, Apple TV+, where he has three series, including Ted Lasso, indicated that they were ready to step up and sign him on the Apple Studios talent roster. What happened next is a little murky, with some sources saying that Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav personally intervened, indicating that the first major move after Discovery’s acquisition of WarnerMedia could not be the exit of one of the studio’s biggest showrunners. One way or another, Warner Bros. TV Group did step up to the table and was able to secure a new long-term pact with Lawrence and his Doozer banner, keeping him at the studio where he has been since 2011. (This is his fourth deal there.)
Lawrence will continue to develop, create, and produce original series to be produced by Warner Bros. Television for all platforms, including HBO Max, external streaming services, cable, and the five broadcast networks. His team at Doozer includes longtime collaborators President Jeff Ingold and Vice President Liza Katzer.
Through his WBTV pact, Lawrence co-developed with Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt and Joe Kelly and executive produces the Emmy-winning and hugely popular Apple TV+ crowd pleaser Ted Lasso, which will begin production next month on its third season. Lawrence also adapted and is executive producing WBTV’s upcoming drama Bad Monkey, starring Vince Vaughn and based on the book by Carl Hiaasen, which received a 10-episode series order from Apple TV+ and begins production on Monday in Miami. Additionally, Lawrence is writing and executing producing WBTV’s upcoming comedy shrinking, alongside Ted Lasso‘s Brett Goldstein and Jason Segel, who will star. Shrinking was ordered straight-to-series by Apple TV+ and is scheduled to begin production this spring.
For his work on the first season of Ted Lasso, Lawrence won an Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series and was also nominated for comedy writing. He won two WGA Awards, for Comedy Series and for New Series, and was nominated for Episodic Comedy. He was also nominated for a PGA Award among a slew of accolades he has received for the show.
Ted Lasso showrunner’s strong track record goes back two decades when Lawrence, then a relative novice, co-created comedy hit Spin City. He also created Scrubs and co-created Cougar Town as well as the praised animated comedy Clone Highwhose upcoming reboot he is executive producing.
Additional previous WBTV series from Lawrence and Doozer include Head of the Class for HBO Max, Whiskey Rider for ABC, Life Sentence for The CW, rush hour for CBS, Ground floor for TBS and Undateable for NBC. He is repped by ICM Partners and attorney Jared Levine.