NBC Orders Anthology Drama 'Manhunt' Straight to Series

Gavin Hood Horizontal - H 2014
AP Images

Gavin Hood Horizontal - H 2014

NBC is getting into the anthology game.

Following a multiple-network bidding war, the network has handed out a 10-episode order to drama Manhunt, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The pickup is cast- and script-contingent, meaning if either fails to work out, NBC does not have to move forward with the series. Sources tell THR that Dustin Hoffman and Casey Affleck were at one point attached to star in Manhunt had the drama landed at a cable network. NBC is not negotiating with anyone to star at this time.

Each season of Manhunt, which will be directed by Gavin Hood (Oscar-winning film Tsotsi), will dramatize the mounting tension of an entire city on the hunt for a fugitive roaming the streets at large. It will examine the moment an American or international city becomes a police state, a war zone or a ground zero and the ensuing bloodlust it inspires.

Whit Braytonand Zack Rice will pen the scripts and exec produce the Universal Television drama alongside Hood, Michael SugarAlex Goldstone and Nicole Romano.

Anthology series continue to be in high demand as networks look to lure A-list cast, eyeballs and cache with short-order series. Manhunt joins anthology series including HBO's True Detective, FX's Emmy winner Fargo and Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk's American Horror Story, the latter of which completely reboots itself with a new cast and premise each season.

Manhunt marks NBC's fourth drama picked up for 2015. It joins Jennifer Lopez-Ryan Seacrest cop drama Shades of Blue; miniseries A.D., Mark Burnett and Roma Downey's follow-up to The Bible; and Heroes: Reborn, a new 13-episode story from Tim Kring.

The drama comes as straight-to-series orders have become increasingly popular as broadcast networks dole out larger commitments in a bid to compete with cable and streaming services like Netflix, though the practice hasn't always worked out. NBC recently dropped Wizard of Oz-themed drama Emerald City after handing out a 10-episode straight-to-series order, while Fox axed ancient Egyptian drama Hieroglyph after fully casting the project and filming the pilot.

Hood (Ender's Game, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) is repped by WME, Anonymous Content and Myman Abel.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit