ABC orders 'Scoundrels'

Drama based on New Zealand's 'Outrageous Fortune'

ABC has given the green light to "Scoundrels," a comedic drama based on New Zealand series "Outrageous Fortune." The network has handed a series order of about eight episodes to "Scoundrels," which is set to run in the summer.

The project, from ABC Studios, centers on a family of small-time criminals that is shaken when their father is sentenced to a long prison term, leaving his wife to take care of the criminally enterprising brood. In an effort to keep her kids out of trouble, she decides it's time for the family to go straight despite the best efforts of her kids to maintain their petty criminal ways.

Richard Levine and Lyn Greene ("Nip/Tuck") wrote the project and will serve as executive producers/showrunners on the series.

John Barnett, whose company South Pacific Pictures is behind the original series, is also executive producing with ABC-based producer Francie Calfo. Michael Larkin and Michael Goldstein will serve as co-exec producers.

This is ABC's second stab at developing an U.S. version of "Fortune," which aired its fifth season in New Zealand this past summer, becoming the country's longest running drama.

In 2008, Rob Thomas' take on the format, titled "Good Behavior," reached a pilot stage where it was toplined by Catherine O'Hara. Thomas is not involved with "Scoundrels."

ABC is stepping up its efforts to offer original scripted programming in the summer. In addition to "Scoundrels," the network is readying another hourlong series for the off-season this year: crime drama "The Gates," from Fox TV Studios, which is new casting.