Lifetime Passes on 'Clan of the Cave Bear' Drama

The drama was based on Jean M. Auel’s series of best-selling novels.
Ron Howard and Brian Grazer

Lifetime is not moving forward with Clan of the Cave Bear.

The female-skewing cable network has opted to pass on the drama pilot based on Jean M. Auel’s series of best-selling novels, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Insiders say producers Fox 21 and Lifetime were at an impasse on an episode count, with the studio looking for an ongoing series while the network wanted a closed-end run.

Ordered to pilot in July 2014, the drama eyed a launch in 2015. The high-profile pilot hailed from Imagine's Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo (Empire), along with Allison Shearmur (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Auel and writer Linda Woolverton (Maleficent).

“I’ve always admired Jean M. Auel’s timeless work,” Rob Sharenow said when he picked up the Fox 21 and Lionsgate co-production. “With the visionary creative team of Ron Howard, Linda Woolverton, Brian Grazer, Alli Shearmur, Jean M. Auel and Francie Calfo behind it, this project has it all — epic storytelling, great characters and a unique world that’s never been explored on television before. This is exactly the type of top-tier creative talent and great stories we embrace at Lifetime."

The ambitious drama — which starred Millie Brady, Johnny Ward, Hal Ozsan and Charlene McKenna — was part of Lifetime's push to be a destination for high-end scripted drama.

The first book in the series — part of The New York Times best-sellers that have collectively sold more than 60 million copies across the globe — takes place more than 25,000 years ago, when Neanderthals shared the Earth with the first early modern humans and a band of cave dwellers adopt blond, blue-eyed Ayla, a child of the “Others.” As Ayla matures into a young woman of spirit and courage, she must fight for survival against the jealous bigotry of Broud, who will one day be clan leader.

Clan of the Cave Bear was the lone pilot in development at Lifetime. The cable network's roster of scripted fare currently includes just two: the upcoming fourth season of Devious Maids and critical hit UnREAL, the latter of which was renewed for a second run. On the development side, the cabler recently landed Fame.

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