ABC sees the future, buys it

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Flash forward to 2009: ABC might finally have launched a strong companion to "Lost" with "Flash Forward."

After heated bidding, the spec script by filmmaker David S. Goyer and "Star Trek" veteran Brannon Braga is close to landing at ABC with a pilot order and series penalty behind it.

Based on Robert J. Sawyer's sci-fi novel, "Flash Forward" is considered very compatible with "Lost." It chronicles the chaos that ensues after everyone in the world blacks out for 2 minutes, 17 seconds and has a mysterious vision of the future that changes lives forever.

Goyer will direct the pilot. He also will exec produce with Braga and Jessika Borsiczky Goyer (NBC's "Revelations") along with Vince Gerardis and Ralph M. Vicinanza ("Jumper"), who own the rights to the book. ABC Studios is in negotiations to produce.

"Flash Forward" originally was developed at HBO, which retains a piece of the backend. The pay cable network's brass are said to have been high on the project but found it a better fit for a broadcast network. And with HBO's blessing, Goyer and Braga took it to the marketplace, where it spurred a bidding war between ABC and Fox.

Its pending sale to ABC created a conflict for Braga, who is under a deal with 20th TV to serve as a co-executive producer on "24," the studio's drama for Fox. ABC Studios and 20th TV engaged in conversations about possibly co-producing "Flash Forward," but when the talks stalled this week, Braga opted to pull from day-to-day involvement on the project, which helped the deal move forward. He will continue to serve as an exec producer on "Flash Forward" while working full time on "24."

Goyer and Braga met on the CBS sci-fi series "Threshold," which both executive produced.

Goyer most recently co-wrote the story for the megahit "The Dark Knight" and penned and directed the upcoming thriller "The Unborn." Braga worked on several "Star Trek" series, including "Enterprise," which he co-created, and also penned two "Star Trek" movies.

Goyer and Borsiczky Goyer are repped by CAA; Braga is repped by Endeavor. (partialdiff)
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