12:55pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Nigel Lythgoe's 'Fame' Reboot Lands at Lifetime (Exclusive)
Lifetime is ready for Fame.
The female-skewing cable network has picked up MGM Television's long-gestating Fame reboot, The Hollywood Reporter has learned, with Smash and Gossip Girl alum Josh Safran attached.
First announced in August 2012, the drama hails from MGM Television and is described as a reimagining of the 1980 hit movie and subsequent NBC TV series. The drama, like the originals, revolves around a group of adults struggling to balance high pressures of life at a performing arts college along with the trials and drama of their personal lives.
The potential series, which is in the early stages of development, will be produced by MGM Television and A+E Studios, which boarded the drama as a co-producer when it landed at Lifetime.
Safran — currently set to oversee ABC's upcoming Quantico drama — will pen the script and executive produce alongside Nigel Lythgoe (So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol), Chad Gutstein and Charles Segars.
Fame comes as MGM TV continues to mine its library as TV remakes and reboots continue to be in high demand in an increasingly competitive landscape. The company also has FX's critical darling Fargo prepping its second season and is also responsible for MTV's Teen Wolf and History's Vikings.
Safran, the former Smash showrunner, was a playwriting major at NYU and is a big Broadway fan (he previously dated original Rent star Anthony Rapp), which will likely come in handy for the singing, dancing and acting that are essential to reimagining Fame.
The original fame series, also produced by MGM TV, ran for six seasons and 136 episodes. It was created by Christopher Gore and starred Debbie Allen (Lydia), Gene Anthony Ray (Leroy), Carlo Imperato (Danny) and Lori Singer (Julie), among others, with an unforgettable theme performed in the movie by Irene Cara that was covered by co-star Erica Gimpel (Coco).
The 2009 attempt to revive the Fame franchise on the big screen proved a disappointment. The Kevin Tancharoen-directed musical starring Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth and Megan Mullally flopped for MGM, grossing $22 million domestically.
Should Fame go to series, it would join a Lifetime roster of scripted originals that includes UnReal, Lizzie Borden and Devious Maids. Damien, a follow-up to The Omen that was originally developed for the cabler, moved to corporate sibling A&E.