Disney Lures ‘Smallville’ Team to Touchstone

Times Staff Writer

Walt Disney Co. has lured Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins -- producers of the WB network’s No. 1 show, “Smallville,” as well as the movies “Varsity Blues” and “Big Fat Liar” -- to its Touchstone Television studio, the companies announced Thursday.

Terms of the two-year TV agreement were not disclosed, although Touchstone will share with Tollin/Robbins Productions any profits from shows created during that time. The deal has an additional two-year option.

“This is a good deal for us, and a great investment,” said Stephen McPherson, Touchstone Television president. “These guys have incredible taste, they’re very hard working and incredibly competitive.”


Disney’s ABC executives are considering two Tollin/Robbins pilots for their fall lineup. Those shows and two other pilots ordered by News Corp.-owned Fox Broadcasting and the WB are part of the pair’s existing agreement, which expires next month, with Warner Bros., a division of AOL Time Warner Inc.

Under the Touchstone deal, Tollin/Robbins will be able to sell shows to other networks, although the emphasis will be on providing programs for the struggling ABC network.

Moving to Disney also was attractive because of ESPN and the Disney Channel, Robbins said. The team has produced shows for Viacom Inc.’s Nickelodeon channel, including “All That” and “Nick Cannon,” the team sports show “Slamball” on TNN and, for AOL Time Warner, “Arli$$” for HBO and “What I Like About You” and “Black Sash” for the WB.

The WB is owned by AOL Time Warner and Tribune Co., which also publishes The Times.