Eddie Murphy Signs Pact With CBS

Times Staff Writer

Eddie Murphy, who quickly catapulted from late-night TV comedian to megabuck movie star, has signed a three-year deal to produce and star in shows for CBS, the network said Monday.

The CBS agreement calls for Murphy's Los Angeles-based production company to make a half-hour comedy series, pilots for other series and three annual specials.

Neither CBS nor a spokeswoman for the performer could offer details on specific projects or on when the programs might air. But Murphy will not be starring in the series, said his spokeswoman, Terri Williams.

No financial figures were disclosed in the announcement of the deal between CBS and Eddie Murphy Television Enterprises Inc. production company, which, Williams said, is in partnership with Paramount Television.

The CBS agreement was reached less than a year after Murphy signed a long-term contract with Paramount Pictures--for whom he has starred or co-starred in five pictures, starting with the hit "48 HRS."--to develop and work on another five films and various TV projects.

The CBS pact doesn't affect Murphy's film deal with Paramount, Williams said.

Murphy's TV deal, disclosed by CBS Entertainment President Kim LeMasters, comes at a time when CBS is fighting to rebound from last season's third-place finish in the prime-time ratings, a first for the network.

Murphy, 27, got his start as a regular on NBC's "Saturday Night Live," then successfully made the transition to film in "48 HRS.," "Beverly Hills Cop" and "Trading Places."

CBS said Murphy will "exclusively produce for and appear in network television broadcasts for CBS."

However, under an agreement reached before the one with CBS, Murphy's production company is still committed to develop a sitcom pilot tentatively entitled "Outrageous" for NBC, Williams said.

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