'12 Monkeys' Adaptation Gets Pilot Order at Syfy

12 Monkeys

The sci-fi thriller starring Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt begins with the earth suffering from a deliberately set virus released in 1996 that killed off five billion people across the globe.

A month after Syfy put an adaptation of 12 Monkeys into development, the network is moving forward with its small-screen take.

The NBCUniversal-owned cable network announced Monday that it has ordered the project to pilot after initially considering a straight-to-series pickup for the drama.

Based on Universal Pictures' feature of the same name from Terry Gilliam, which starred Bruce Willis as James Cole, a convicted criminal in a post-apocalyptic future where the Earth's population is forced to live underground after a deadly virus. In a bid to earn a pardon, Cole uses the imperfect science of time travel to help collect information on the virus released by the Army of the Twelve Monkeys.

STORY: '12 Monkeys' Adaptation Near Series Order at Syfy (Exclusive) 

Feature film producers Charles Roven and Richard Suckle of Atlas Entertainment -- one of the production companies on board the Universal film -- submitted the pitch and will executive produce the hourlong pilot. Terry Matalas (Nikita, Terra Nova, Star Trek: Enterprise) and Travis Fickett (Nikita, Terra Nova) will pen the script for the Universal Cable Productions venture. Production will begin in November.  

"We have a great pilot. We're now flushing out what the rest of the series might be," Syfy president of original programming and co-head of original content at UCP Mark Stern told The Hollywood Reporter of the project in July.

12 Monkeys comes as Syfy looks to beef up its original scripted fare, following the successful launch of pricey drama Defiance. The network is looking to add five or six new original scripted projects for 2014 to join Helix, which also was picked up straight to series.

At Syfy, 12 Monkeys joins pilots High Moon from Bryan Fuller and Rewind.

E-mail: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit