March 21, 2013 8:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Fox's Navy Drama Pilot 'Wild Blue' Pushed
Fox's Navy drama pilot The Wild Blue is being held at bay.
Fox and studio Sony Pictures Television were in deep negotiations with Tim McGraw to star in the big swing and had considered alternate filming options in-season that would accommodate the country music star's tour schedule. The drama will now film out of the typical March-May pilot season window.
From Justified's Elmore Taylor and Graham Yost, the project is described as a mixture of ER, The West Wing and Top Gun and revolves around the men and women on board a U.S. aircraft carrier equipped with a 500-foot landing strip, a nuclear reactor and 6,000 souls on board. The drama is an upstairs/downstairs look at pressure-cooker lives of the U.S. Navy.
The production is said to have needed access to a specific type of filming location -- sources tell The Hollywood Reporter they'd planned to film on an aircraft carrier -- which was not available during the March-May time frame.
The project will now be shot off-cycle, as the network and studio are said to have originally planned. Without McGraw -- whose deal broke down earlier this week after protracted negotiations -- Fox will now move forward to film Wild Blue off-cycle in June and out of the crush of the nearly 100 broadcast pilots now in the works.
McGraw, based in Nashville, was said to have wanted an East Coast shoot, while the network and studio were eyeing a Los Angeles hub.
Sources say the production will now shift to building sets to replace the ones lost when the aircraft carrier didn't work out. The Navy is said to be working with the production on the script, with an aircraft carrier expected to be available for a June shoot.
Elmore will write and co-executive produce the Sony drama alongside Yost, Mark Johnson and Michael Dinner. Melissa Bernstein will co-exec produce, with Dinner on board to direct. Will Rotthaar (Battle: Los Angeles), Gina Rodriguez, Josh Salatin (The Carrie Diaries), Alano Miller (Damages) and Mykelti Williamson (Justified) co-star.
Wild Blue marks the third pilot so far this season to be rolled out of the traditional March-May cycle. NBC's single-camera comedy Donor Party was delayed after the network had trouble casting the lead. Anthony Zuiker's modern-day Alice in Wonderland drama Wonderland at NBC also was postponed to give the large-scale production more time with its complex visual effects.