It's a 'Miracle' for Minear, Holland, ABC

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"Drive" creator Tim Minear and Emmy winner Todd Holland have teamed for "Miracle Man," a drama project that sparked a bidding war between ABC and Fox and landed at ABC with a put pilot commitment.

"Miracle" -- from 20th Century Fox TV, where Minear and Holland are based with overall deals -- centers on a disgraced former televangelist, a man of no faith, who finds that God is using him to perform real miracles and change lives, starting with his own.

"It's about losing everything and starting over and finding that there is a higher purpose in life," Minear said. "It's about a man who says, 'I don't know how to be good, but I'll try to be better.' "

"Miracle" was developed by Minear and Holland, who worked together on Fox's critically praised drama "Wonderfalls." Minear is writing the script, with Holland set to direct. Both are executive producing.

Televangelism is a familiar territory for Minear, who had an evangelical upbringing in Whittier, Calif., and went to evangelical schools. His father is a radio engineer for religious programming. While he was growing up, Minear often listened to preachers as they taped their programs in his dad's home studio.

"Miracle" also was influenced by the series of sex and accounting fraud scandals that rocked the televangelist industry in the 1980s and brought disgrace to such heavyweights as Jimmy Swaggart, Marvin Gorman and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. Others, like Peter Popoff, were exposed as a sham.

But "Miracle" "is not in any way an indictment to religion," Minear said. "It's a love letter to the religious."

What attracted him to the idea of doing a show about a disgraced televangelist was that "I love the genre, and I love stories about redemption and stories about characters that are slightly cynical and nudged by higher force," Minear said.

"Miracle" brings Minear back to ABC, where he landed his first full-time series gig on "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman."

"I've come a full circle," Minear said. "It feels a fresh clean beginning of something."

Like the other three major networks, ABC has been an active buyer in the past several weeks. It has acquired several projects with significant commitments, including a legal dramedy from David Hemingson, which was picked up as a put pilot (HR 8/27).

There have been a few attempts in the past few years to develop a series set in the world of televangelists, including Showtime's pilot "Paradise," which starred David Strathairn.

Minear, who most recently created and executive produced Fox's drama "Drive," also has worked on such series as Fox's "The Inside" and "Firefly" and WB Network's "Angel." He is repped by Endeavor and manager Larry Shuman of the Shuman Co.

Holland has won three directing Emmys -- two for Fox's "Malcolm in the Middle" and one for HBO's "The Larry Sanders Show." On the big screen, he most recently directed "Firehouse Dog."

Holland is repped by Endeavor and attorneys Alan Wertheimer and Bob Getman.
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