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NOV
13
2 YEARS

Josh Duhamel, Oliver Hudson, Mark Gordon Sell Soap Opera Drama to ABC

Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts will pen the script for the untitled drama as well as a second high-concept genre soap, "Graveyard Queen," that the Mark Gordon Co. has set up at NBC.

Mark Gordon Josh Duhamel Split - H 2012
Getty Images
Mark Gordon, left, and Josh Duhamel

The Mark Gordon Co. is going full-steam ahead with a pair of soap opera-themed dramas set up at ABC and NBC.

At ABC, Transformers star Josh Duhamel is teaming with Gretchen J. Berg and Aaron Harberts for an untitled drama about a daytime soap opera that explores the loves, lives and lunacy at an on-the-bubble network soap opera, where the antics of the cast and crew are crazier than any plot lines they broadcast. Set as the TV genre is faltering, the larger-than-life workplace family fights a never-ending desperate battle to keep their show on the air, egos secure and relationships in tact.

STORY: 'Transformers' Star Josh Duhamel to Appear on 'All My Children'

The new show is based on an original idea by Duhamel, who recurred as Leo on ABC's All My Children. The actor co-created the concept with Berg and Harberts (Revenge, GCB, Pushing Daisies, Wonderfalls) -- who will pen the script -- and executive produce alongside Mark Gordon Co. head of drama Nicholas Pepper and actor Oliver Hudson (Rules of Engagement, Dawson's Creek). Hudson and Duhamel both might appear onscreen should the project move forward, though not in a series regular capacity.

The project comes a year after Duhamel reprised his role on All My Children as the long-running soap marched toward its final episode. ABC in April 2011 opted to cancel both AMC and One Life to Live to make room for two younger-skewing lifestyle-oriented series in The Chew and The Revolution.

NBC, meanwhile, is adapting Amanda Stevens' novel The Graveyard Queen. The drama is described as a high-concept genre soap opera centering on a girl cursed at youth with the ability to see the dead. She works as a cemetery restorer who, at great risk to her physical and mental well-being, joins forces with a haunted homicide detective to solve a string of brutal murders in Charleston, S.C.

STORY: How I Sold My Show: Nine of TV's Hottest Producers Tell All

Berg and Harberts are on board to pen the script and executive produce alongside Gordon and Pepper.

Both from Mark Gordon's eponymous company, which have received script orders at ABC and NBC, respectfully, hail from ABC Studios, where the prolific producer is under an overall deal.

The pair of soap projects come as the prolific producer behind series including Grey's Anatomy has set up nine other projects this development season: the comedies Dirty Girls (ABC), My Korean Deli (ABC) and Spinsters (NBC) and dramas Sex Diaries (ABC), Pros & Cons (ABC), Gothica (ABC), an untitled family drama co-written by Desperate Housewives' Bob Daily and Pierce Gardner (ABC), Vain (ABC) and Darkness Falls (CBS).

Gordon is repped by ICM Partners, Berg and Harberts are with ICM and Hansen Jacobson; Duhamel is with ICM, John Carrabino and Hansen Jacobson; Hudson is with ICM, Management 360 and Ziffren Brittenham; Stevens is also with ICM.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit