The deal calls for Smits to deliver the show after he finishes his commitment -- announced last week -- as a cast member on NBC's "The West Wing." Smits will play a Texas politician who runs for president on the Emmy-winning White House drama.
The ABC deal reunites Smits with the network where he starred from 1994-98 as Detective Bobby Simone on "NYPD Blue."
Smits is free to begin producing shows immediately at Touchstone, but his commitment to "The West Wing" runs through the upcoming TV season -- so he will not be able to star in a series for ABC at least until then.
Variety said Smits was likely to remain on "The West Wing" beyond the 2004-05 season -- if the show returns for another season and his character's storyline has any life left in it.