EXCLUSIVE: Emmy-nominated writers-producers Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker, executive producers and co-showrunners of Abbott Elementary and co-developers and executive producers of Harley Quinn, have signed a new exclusive overall deal with Warner Bros. Television Group, the studio behind the acclaimed ABC comedy series and the popular Max adult animated series. Details are not being disclosed but the premium pact is said to be for four years.
Under the agreement, Halpern and Schumacker will continue to develop, create, and produce programming through their WBTV-based company, Delicious Non-Sequitur Productions, including series for Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max streaming platform, external streaming services, the broadcast networks, and cable.
More from Deadline
Halpern and Schumacker serve as executive producers and co-showrunners with creator/star Quinta Brunson of Abbott Elementary, which returns for its third season Feb. 7 on ABC.
The duo developed with Dean Lorey and are executive producers of the Warner Bros. Animation-produced Harley Quinn, based on characters from DC, which has been renewed for a fifth season. Next up for Halpern and Schumacker is the Harley Quinn spinoff Kite Man: Hell Yeah!, a new adult animated comedy they developed with Lorey for Max, which will debut later this year.
The new pact renewal extends Halpern and Schumacker’s long-standing relationship with WBTV. It dates back to 2010 when they teamed up for the CBS comedy series $h*! My Dad Says starring William Shatner, based on Halpern’s best-selling book, which Halpern and Schumacker co-created and executive produced. The duo has been under a string of overall deals at the studio since 2013. The list of WBTV projects they have shepherded also include Harley Quinn: A Very Problematic Valentine’s Day Special on Max; Fox comedy series Surviving Jack, based on Halpern’s book I Suck at Girls, which they co-created and executive produced; and the DC comedy series for NBC Powerless, on which they served as executive producers and showrunners. They also worked as consulting producers on the studio’s CW series iZombie.
The list of pilots Halpern and Schumacker have worked on under their WBTV deals includes the 2018 The End Of The World As We Know It for the CW, which Brunson starred in and Halpern and Schumacker executive produced. That collaboration led to the trio’s praised followup, Abbott Elementary.
“We’re thrilled to continue our long-standing relationship with Justin and Patrick,” said Warner Bros. Television Group Chairman and CEO Channing Dungey said. “They are not only brilliantly talented creators, but also great leaders and mentors to the next generation of comedic writers. We are privileged to have them as part of the Warner Bros. Television Group family, and we look forward to partnering with them for years to come.”
Amid an industry-wide market correction, high-end, long-term overall deals have been few and far between, usually reserved for proven performers and auspices behind television’s top series. WBTV also has an overall pact with Abbott Elementary‘s Emmy-winning creator and star Brunson, which is ongoing.
For their work on Abbott Elementary, Halpern and Schumacker have shared in Emmy nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series for both of the show’s first two seasons. The show also has won a Peabody Award, a Critics Choice Award for Best Comedy Series, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, and it has been honored twice as one of the 10 Programs of the Year by the American Film Institute. Halpern and Schumacker, along with the rest of Abbott’s writing/producing team, have also been nominated for two WGA Awards and a PGA Award. For Harley Quinn, they won a Critics Choice Award for Best Animated Series, among other honors.
“Warner Bros. Television has been our home for the better part of a decade,” Halpern and Schumacker said. “The opportunity to continue to create stories with Channing, Brett, Clancy, and all of our friends in the WBTV family is an absolute privilege, and we are ecstatic to be here for the next several years.”
Under their new WBTV overall deal, Chrissy Romero will continue as VP for Delicious Non-Sequitur Productions. Chrissy Romero, who joined the company in 2021, oversees development and current projects, including continues to work on Abbott Elementary, Harley Quinn, and new spinoff, Kite Man: Hell Yeah!
Prior to Delicious Non-Sequitur, Romero worked in TV and Film Development at Nahnatchka Khan’s Fierce Baby Productions. Before that, she worked at NBC’s comedy department with shows like The Good Place, Superstore, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, AP Bio, and the Will & Grace revival. She began her career at CAA.
Earlier in their careers, Halpern and Schumacker worked on CBS’ How To Be A Gentleman and ABC/TBS’ Cougar Town. On the feature side, they recently finished writing Birthright, based on the graphic novel by Joshua Williamson, for Universal Pictures, with Ruben Fleischer and Skybound producing.
Halpern and Schumacker are managed by Adventure Media and represented by attorney Allison Binder at Goodman Genow Schenkman Smelkinson + Christopher, LLP.
Best of Deadline