November 12, 2013 9:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Catherine the Great' Limited Series in the Works at ABC (Exclusive)
ABC is turning its lens on Catherine the Great.
The network is prepping a limited series based on Robert Massie's best-selling novel Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
Pulitzer Prize winner Massie's biography was released in September 2012 and chronicled the Russian empress' rise to become the world's richest and most powerful woman of her time.
Michael Cristofer (Gia, Georgia O'Keefe, The Witches of Eastwick) will pen the script and executive produce alongside two-time Emmy nominee Debra Martin Chase (The Princess Diaries, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), via the latter's ABC Studios-based Martin Chase Productions. Charles Pugliese, Martin Chase Productions vp, also will serve as a producer on the mini.
Cristofer won a Pulitzer and Tony for his play Shadowbox. His feature film Fade Out, starring Aaron Eckhart, begins production in February.
Martin Chase Productions is repped by CAA and attorneys Nina Shaw and Abel Lezcano. Cristofer is repped by Gersh and John LaViolette at Bloom Hergott.
Catherine the Great comes as ABC has been ramping up its limited series development as it looks to fill the gap between the network's split-run dramas when its scripted fare pushes pause for the holidays. ABC also is readying a miniseries chronicling the gay rights movement from Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black as well as The Black Box, starring Kelly Reilly, and limited series The Assets for 2014, among others.