October 21, 2011 3:14pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'True Blood' EP Alan Ball Developing HBO Medical Drama (Exclusive)
Alan Ball is switching genres.
The True Blood showrunner is developing Wichita, an hourlong drama about a Kansas surgeon who inadvertently becomes the focal point of a contemporary political, cultural and ethical war.
Ball is set to executive produce the HBO project with writer Devin Friedman, the author behind the 2010 GQ article "Savior vs. Savior" about the late Dr. George Tiller, a Wichita, Kansas, doctor who was one of the few physicians who provided late-term abortions.
Tiller, who was the medical director of the Women's Health Care Services facility, survived an assassination attempt in 1993 and was shot in the eye and killed by anti-abortion activist Scott Roeder in 2009. Roeder was convicted of murder last year.
Ball would executive produce the hourlong project alongside Jimmy Miller with Friedman penning the project and serving as co-executive producer.
Wichita marks Ball's third project with the premium cable network behind True Blood. He also is set to executive produce HBO sibling Cinemax's Banshee, a project set in Pennsylvania's Amish country that revolves around an ex-con and martial arts expert who poses as the small town's murdered sheriff as he enforces his own brand of justice and uses the position to serve his own interest.
Ball inked a multiyear deal with HBO in July and told The Hollywood Reporter at the Television Critics' Association's summer press tour that he had a "couple pilots" in development.
In addition to the trio of TV projects, Ball also signed on to direct a dark comedy pitch set up at Paramount. He's repped by UTA and Bloom Hergott Diemer.