ABC Replaces Shonda Rhimes With ‘LOST’ Co-Showrunner Carlton Cuse on Big $20M Deal

The arms race for talent is on

Carlton Cuse ABC Shonda Rhimes Netflix
Carlton Cuse is returning to the home of ‘LOST.’ Vivien Killilea/Getty Images

ABC wasted no time in replacing Shonda Rhimes, who landed a mega-deal at Netflix earlier this week worth an estimated $100 million, by bringing in Lost co-showrunner Carlton Cuse on a big four-year deal worth $20 million, THR reports. If you’ll remember, ABC was home to Lost for all six of its seasons, so this is a familiar reunion. To ensure they got their man, ABC also threw in a percentage of the back-end on programming created by Cuse and his new Genre Arts company. Gotta respect the all might dollar.

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Rather than focusing all of his energies on pushing a button one series this time, however, the deal calls for Cuse and Genre Arts to develop a wide array of content “across all network, cable and streaming platforms while also working with other writers,” per the outlet. Basically, ABC Studios wants him to godfather a bunch of different creative properties for a TV smorgasbord.

According to THR, Cuse was mulling multiple offers from other studios. The thinking here is that he’ll help ABC Studios develop more successful cable content (the ABC Signature banner is responsible for Showtime’s SMILF, FX’s upcoming animated Deadpool, Freeform’s Black-ish spinoff in addition to Marvel properties Cloak and Dagger and New Warriors). It’s easy to see why ABC Studios thinks he’s capable of helping and why they just handed him a supremely lucrative deal to do so.

Since Lost concluded its run (in disappointing fashion) in 2010, Cuse has continued as a reliable veteran of TV production. His recent shows aren’t going to send Twitter into a cannibalistic frenzy like White Walkers and dragons do, but they are all solid ratings performers that are generally well received. A&E’s Psycho prequel Bate Motel just concluded after five seasons, USA Network’s Colony is headed into its third season and FX’s The Strain is currently airing its fourth and final installment. Next on the docket is a new Jack Ryan show for Amazon (AMZN) and the Locke and Key pilot for Hulu. Clearly, Cuse is a guy who likes to play in a lot of different sandboxes, which will translate well to his new role.

“It is with great pleasure that I am returning to ABC Studios, my happy home for six years during Lost. I am very excited to be working alongside wonderful and iconic Disney brands like Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm to create and bring entertaining and compelling stories to the screen,” Cuse said. “The very best part of my job is working with other writers to come up with cool ideas, solve story problems and get stories made.”

“Forming a partnership with a writer-producer-director as talented and prolific as Carlton Cuse is a major victory for ABC Studios,” ABC Studios president Patrick Moran said. “We’re so looking forward to working with him again and bringing his signature creativity back to our studio.”

ABC Replaces Shonda Rhimes With ‘LOST’ Co-Showrunner Carlton Cuse on Big $20M Deal