Modern 'Phantom of the Opera' Set Up at ABC With Marc Cherry

The drama will have musical elements in the same vein of 'Nashville'
Photofest; AP Images
"Phantom" and Marc Cherry

ABC is poised to remake one of the most beloved and successful musicals of all time.

The network is reteaming with Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry for an adaptation of Phantom of the Opera, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

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The project, which received a script commitment from the network, is described as a drama with musical elements in the same vein of ABC's Nashville. The new Phantom is described as a contemporary reimagining of Gaston Leroux's gothic novel and set in the sexy and cutthroat world of the modern-day music business. The hourlong scripted drama will be written by Alan Zachary and Michael Weiner (Broadway's First Date, Secondhand Lions, 17 Again) with Cherry and his ABC Studios-based Cherry/Wind Productions topper Sabrina Wind on board to exec produce.

First published in 1909, Phantom has been adapted numerous times in books, comics, film, TV, radio and the stage. Andrew Lloyd Webber's Tony-winning stage musical starring Michael Crawford is the longest-running show in Broadway history with more than 10,000 performances and ranks as the second-longest-running production on the West End. Its worldwide gross is more than $5.6 billion, the second-highest in history, with its Broadway haul of $845 million topped only by The Lion King

On the small-screen, Phantom was most recently a two-part miniseries that aired on NBC in 1990. The mini won two technical Emmys and was nominated for a Golden Globe. On the big screen, Joel Schumacher adapted the musical with Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum in 2004.

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ABC's Phantom take arrives as musical series have seen a resurgence on the small screen following the success of Fox's global hit Glee. ABC's Nashville has been steady for the network in its third season and musical fairy tale Galavant will bow midseason. Fox will also launch hip-hop drama Empire come midseason along with the final season of Glee. NBC, for its part, explored the Broadway world with two seasons of Smash and found massive success with its live musical production of The Sound of Music. The network will follow that with a live performance of Peter Pan in December, with Fox also plotting a live broadcast of Grease for 2015. Phantom will, like Nashville, also come with the added incentive of music sales — a further financial bonus for the network and studio.

For Cherry and Wind, this is the duo's second sale of the development season. The banner also set up Cheerleader Death Squad at The CW, from CBS Television Studios. Phantom reunites Cherry with ABC and ABC Studios, the companies behind Desperate Housewives. His Lifetime drama Devious Maids, which he exec produces, was originally developed at ABC Studios for ABC before moving to the cable network. Cherry, who previously had an overall deal with ABC Studios, does not currently have a development pact with a studio.  

Cherry, Wind, Zachary and Weiner are repped by Paradigm. Cherry is additionally repped by Del Shaw; Wind is with Michael Gendler and Zachary and Weiner are with Michael Shenkman.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit

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