January 08, 2013 8:43am PT by Lesley Goldberg
M. Night Shyamalan, Bruce C. McKenna Developing Longform Dramas for Fox
Fox is going into business with M. Night Shyamalan and Bruce C. McKenna as it eyes an entry into the longform arena in 2014.
The network announced Tuesday at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour that it is developing limited series Wayward Pines, from Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense) and Blood Brothers, from McKenna (Band of Brothers) with an eye on debuting at least one of the projects in 2014.
“With top-notch auspices and feature-quality production plans, Wayward Pines and Blood Brothers represent exactly the kind of high-impact, 10- to 12-part events we set out to develop when we entered the limited series business,” said Kevin Reilly, chairman of Entertainment at Fox Broadcasting Co. “These two series are the first of many big ideas, big names and big talent that you can anticipate will be on our air in the next 12-24 months.”
Based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Blake Crouch, Pines is described as a thriller in the vein of Twin Peaks. The drama revolves around Ethan Burke, a Secret Service agent who arrives in the bucolic town of Wayward Pines, Id., on a mission to find two missing federal agents. The Playboy Club's Chad Hodge will pen the script, with Shyamalan, Hodge, Donald De Line and Ashwin Rajan on board to exec produce the FX Productions effort. Fox landed the project, based on a spec from Hodge, after a competitive bidding situation.
For its part, Blood Brothers centers on the true story of the West Point Class of 1861. As the country was divided over slavery, the West Point Brotherhood broke apart. The drama centers on two best friends and the rest of the class who find themselves on opposite ends of the conflict. The project follows the drama over four years, where many of the Brotherhood rose from second lieutenants to field generals, all while maintaining the same admiration for one another. McKenna (Band of Brothers, The Pacific) penned the drama and will exec produce alongside Gary Randall (The Glades), Timothy Scott Bogart (Touched), Boardwalk Entertainment Group and Fox Television Studios.
For Fox, the entry into longform comes three months after FX Productions hired former HBO exec Gina Balian to oversee the newly launched division, which will supply content to FX, the Fox Movie Channel and broadcast cousin Fox. Reilly at the time said the network was hungry for longform content -- which FX has found success with in American Horror Story -- that will start as 10- to 12-part events that can both stand-alone or be evolved into franchises.
McKenna, for his part, has already taken home an Emmy in the longform category for HBO's The Pacific, in addition to taking home multiple other nominations in the field.