Robin Hood, 1970s Music Series Being Prepped at NBC (Exclusive)
A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Robin Hood is headed for TV. And if all goes as planned, the radio and the stage too.
Boardwalk Entertainment Group has inked a deal with NBC to develop Robin Hood & Marian — as well as a project about the music business in the 1970s — as 10-hour event series. The former is expected to have as many as 60 original songs woven in, while the latter, which will count Adam Levine as a producer through his 222 Productions, will feature contemporary stars re-recording classic '70s hits.
As Boardwalk has done for Romeo & Juliet, which is in development at Fox, the company will set up a script-writing room alongside a song-writing room, with Evan "Kidd" Bogart and Emanuel "Eman" Kiriakou, who are responsible for hit songs from Beyonce, Rihanna and Demi Lovato, collaborating on the music. RCA Records will continue to serve as Boardwalk's label partner, and will release the music following the episodes.
"These projects are not typical musicals — we don't have dance numbers and kick lines," Boardwalk co-founder Tim Bogart tells THR. "But it's also emerging at a time where Beyonce releases a video album — not just a music album — and where most people watch music on YouTube. The marriage of visuals and music has always been in a constant state of evolution, [and] we believe both Romeo & Juliet and Robin Hood & Marian have the opportunity to take this new form to the next level."
Robin Hood was a natural fit for Boardwalk's new model given the story's origins, a series of ballads written in the 14th century. The NBC iteration, which is being produced through Universal Cable Productions, will be set in England in 1190 and will reveal the history that launched one of the classic adventure heroes. A touring stage show will follow.
For its part, The 1970s, as the Sony TV project is tentatively titled, will explore the decade through the eyes of the music executives and artists who helped create some of the most influential music of the era. "What not everyone realizes about the '70s is just how much the culture was informed by the corporate world's drive to control, package and profit from it," says Bogart, with Boardwalk co-founder Gary Randall adding: "It was the beginning of the end of the independent labels and the driving force of radio transitioning into the corporate takeover of the business and the demise of the mob influence."
Levine, who's already in business with NBC through The Voice and was brought aboard by NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt, has been involved in all aspects, from the song choices to decisions about casting contemporary artists to play the iconic musicians and re-record their classic songs.
As Boardwalk continues to expand, it will soon announce a new partnership with a leading live touring company to produce live stage versions of its projects. The 3-year-old company also has formed a partnership with music business legend Danny Bramson, who will work across Boardwalk projects, including an event series inspired by his own career-long relationships with some of the biggest names in music history. On the film side, the group is prepping its Justin Timberlake vehicle Spinning Gold, about the Bogarts' father, Neil Bogart, founder of Casablanca Records.
Boardwalk and Levine are both repped by CAA.