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Modern-Day 'Houdini' Procedural in the Works at ABC, Mandeville (Exclusive)

The production company best known for "Monk" has set up five new projects at the Disney-owned network, including a high-tech thriller from hot writer Stefan Jaworski.

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Laurie Zaks

Five months after being tapped to lead Mandeville's TV division, Laurie Zaks is wasting little time in getting started.

Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman's company has set up five new projects at ABC -- four dramas and a comedy -- joining the previously announced limited/event series based on The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Among the sales for the ABC Studios-based production company are a modern take on Houdini and a high-tech thriller from hot Danish writer Stefan Jaworski as well as a military hospital drama and a mother-daughter crime-solving duo procedural from Castle's David Grae.

"David, Todd and I agreed that we would only develop projects that we were passionate about with writers we love," Zaks tells THR of the slate, with additional sales coming soon. "All of our projects are strong in character and dramatic storytelling with an element of fun. Things we would want to watch ourselves."

The producer -- who developed Castle for ABC -- joined Mandeville in April with the production company inking a development pact with ABC Studios, where Zaks has been based since 2006.

The five new projects come after Mandeville -- best known for USA Network's long-running Monk -- set up John Leguizamo comedy King John at the network last pilot season.

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Here's a look at the new slate:

White Eye hails from writer/EP Jaworski and is described as a high-tech procedural thriller centered on a secret NSA unit spearheaded by a strong-willed female agent and her paranoid male counterpart. The duo use state-of-the-art technology to access every online camera on the planet. Turning cell phones into their eyes and ears, the next-gen investigators strive to keep the nation safe while privately struggling with issues of trust in their personal lives when their own most intimate secrets turn out to be anything but safe. For Jaworski, the drama joins A&E's Chloe Sevigny-starring remake of his Danish drama Those Who Kill and FX's American Psycho follow-up. Jaworski is repped by Paradigm.

Houdini will be written by Jeff Addiss and Will Matthews and follows legendary illusionist Harry Houdini when he partners with an unusually gifted female detective to solve the cases that baffle the LAPD in what is described as a fast-paced modern-day procedural. The drama comes as History will unspool its four-hour Houdini miniseries with Adrien Brody attached to star. Addiss and Matthews are repped by Gersh and Principato Young.

Chris Keyser will pen and executive produce Warriors, a drama about American soldiers and their families as well as the doctors and nurses who live and work at a national military hospital. Keyser is with CAA.

Zaks will reunite with Castle's David Grae on Life Is Murder, a mother-daughter crime drama. Grae will write the script and executive produce the project in which the daughter works as a robbery-homicide detective and the mother is a criminal psychologist/profiler. While solving crimes together in L.A. they also work to mend the problems in their relationship and personal lives. Grae is repped by Paradigm.

Lastly, comedy The Brothers Brink hails from Wilfred's Scott Prendergast, who will pen the script and executive produce the adult ensemble comedy about brothers Todd and Chet, who after growing up at each others' throats are now trying to forge a friendship. But old wounds die hard. Prendergast is with UTA.

For Mandeville, the projects join previously announced Esmeralda, the limited/event series based on The Hunchback of Notre Dame from writer Evan Daugherty that is also set up at ABC. Hoberman, Lieberman and Zaks will executive produce all six projects.

Up next for Mandeville Films is Muppets Most Wanted, which Hoberman and Lieberman are on board to produce. The company's film credits also include zombie romantic dramedy Warm Bodies. Mandeville is repped by UTA.

E-mail: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit