April 25, 2014 10:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Fox Developing 'Nazareth' Event Series With 'Gladiator' Writer
Fox may have found its own version of The Bible.
The network has inked an overall deal with Bob Cooper's Landscape Entertainment and teamed with the banner to develop Nazareth, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The drama is being developed as an event series and will follow the formative years of Jesus of Nazareth. Gladiator Academy Award-winner David Franzoni will pen the script and executive produce the Landscape, FX Productions and Entertainment One vehicle alongside Cooper and Tyler Mitchell as well as Eleven Films' Jamie Campbell and Joel Wilson.
Landscape's Fox overall deal, which specifically covers event series, is in addition to the company's pact with eOne. That deal was extended in February for another two years and covers projects targeted primarily for cable. eOne serves as the studio and deficit financier and handles worldwide distribution.
At Fox, the Nazareth mini joins a growing slate of limited series at the network including 24: Live Another Day (due in May), Gracepoint and Wayward Pines, among others.
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Religious-themed miniseries have become all the rage at both broadcast and cable networks following History's record-breaking 10-part mini The Bible. NBC snagged Mark Burnett's follow-up, A.D.: Beyond the Bible, which takes place in the days after Jesus' death. (He's also prepping limited entry Plymouth.) For its part, CBS is teaming with Burnett to adapt Alice Hoffman's The Dovekeepers -- about the siege of Masada -- as a four-hour mini.
Franzoni, repped by CAA and Lichter Grossman, also wrote Amistad, King Arthur and participated in New Wave Entertainment's 2008 short In the Beginning: 'Quo Vadis' and the Genesis of the Biblical Epic, a documentary about the 1951 feature film that explored the conflict between Christianity and the corruption of the Roman Empire. Nazareth reteams him with Cooper, who co-exec produced Amistad. Franzoni shared in Gladiator's best screenplay Oscar nomination and its best picture win.