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ABC Picks Up Marvel's 'Agent Carter' Straight to Series, Renews 'Agents of SHIELD'

The Hayley Atwell drama is based on the "Captain America" one-shot featuring on the "Iron Man 3" DVD.

ABC is doubling down on its Marvel fare for the 2014-15 broadcast season.

The network has ordered Agent Carter -- based on the Captain America one-shot on the Iron Man 3 DVD -- straight to series and renewed Agents of SHIELD for a second season.

From showrunners Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas (ABC's midseason drama Resurrection, Reaper) the drama stars Captain America's Hayley Atwell and takes place a year after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger. It follows Steve Rogers' (Chris Evans) girlfriend Agent Carter (Atwell) as she builds her career as a secret agent while the hero is frozen in ice. (Watch the one-shot, above.) Steve McFeeley, Christopher Marcus and Marvel's Jeph Loeb exec produce.

The story is set in 1946 and peace has dealt Peggy Carter a serious blow as she finds herself marginalized when the men return home from fighting abroad. Working for the covert SSR (Strategic Scientific Reserve), Peggy must balance doing administrative work and going on secret missions for Howard Stark all while trying to navigate life as a single woman in America, in the wake of losing the love of her life -- Steve Rogers. Inspired by the feature films Captain America: The First Avenger and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, along with the short Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter.

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The script was penned by Captain America duo Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeeley, with producers Marvel Entertainment keeping the project under wraps. The drama, from ABC Studios and Marvel Entertainment, was never picked up to pilot with a rumored presentation filmed for executives. Marvel TV's Jeffrey Bell and Jeph Loeb exec produce.

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Agent Carter will be a short-order series and likely used as a "bridge show" to air during the second season hiatus of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD, with both series ultimately being tied-in together.

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"That certainly has a good chance to be on the network," ABC Entertainment Group president Paul Lee told reporters in January of Agent Carter.

With Agent Carter, ABC now has two Marvel series on the air. It joins Agents of SHIELD -- Marvel Entertainment's first live-action primetime scripted series -- at the network.

Marvel Entertainment's first foray into live-action scripted fare, The Avengers TV spinoff opened Sept. 24 against stiff competition from The Voice and NCIS and collected a 4.7 rating among adults 18-49 and 11.9 million viewers, ranking as the top network drama premiere since ABC's V in 2009. Opening the night at 8 p.m., it topped both Voice and NCIS episode in the demo. Week two was not the same story though. Going head-to-head with Cote de Pablo's final NCIS episode, the comic-themed drama from EPs Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon andMaurissa Tancharoen lost a third of its massive demo haul -- notching a 3.1 and 8.4 million viewers. The series, which scored a creative rejuvenation thanks to its long-planned Captain America tie-in, is a sold performer among young men and sees its 2.5 million adults 18-49 rating grow more than 60 percent to 4.1 million after seven days of delayed viewing. While not the four-quadrant show ABC's Paul Lee had hoped for, it still ranks as ABC's highest-rated freshman drama in the key demo. 

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Meanwhile, Marvel is still prepping four series -- Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage -- and a mini (The Defenders) via its partnership with Netflix, with the first due in 2015.

With the pickup, writing partners Butters -- who is married to Arrow exec producer Marc Guggenheim-- and Fazekas will now have two series on the air.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit