January 09, 2012 12:20pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Ousted 'Walking Dead' Showrunner Frank Darabont Lines Up TNT Drama Pilot
Former Walking Dead showrunner Frank Darabont has found his next TV project: L.A. Noir, a mob drama that TNT has picked up to pilot.
Based on John Buntin's book L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City, which chronicles the battle between former Los Angeles police chief William Parker and mobster/former boxer Mickey Cohen, Darabont will write and direct the pilot as well as executive produce alongside The Social Network producer Michael De Luca and Elliot Webb (Tall Time Tales). Alissa Phillips (Moneyball) will serve as co-executive producer.
"The story of L.A. Noir is inspired by an incredibly dramatic period in the history of Los Angeles," said Michael Wright, executive vp and head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies."This project is a sweeping tale of the battle for the soul of the city that was waged between the forces of the LAPD and the West Coast mob."
The period project is based on the true story of Parker's decades-long pursuit of Cohen and described as a fast-paced crime drama set in Los Angeles during the 1940s and '50s amid a world of movie stars, powerful studio heads, war heroes and a powerful and corrupt police force and criminal network determined to make L.A. its West Coast base.
"Noir is a passion of mine, so I feel blessed to delve into a project that speaks in the hard-boiled vernacular,” Darabont added. "John Buntin’s superb book, though nonfiction, is our touchstone and inspiration for the stories we’ll be telling, weaving fiction throughout the facts, and facts throughout the fiction."
After initial reports that Darabont had stepped down from The Walking Dead, THR revealed that the showrunner -- who shepherded the adaptation of the series based on the comics by Robert Kirkman -- was pushed out over after clashing with the cable network over the show's budget.
Darabont departed the series in July, days after appearing at a San Diego Comic-Con panel to support the show's second season -- which was in mid-production at the time. He was replaced by Glen Mazzara. Walking Dead -- which the cabler owns outright -- has been a breakout hit for the network, shattering basic cable ratings records with its Season 2 premiere in October en route to a third-season pickup.
Lacey Rose contributed to this report.