ABC pilot 'October Road' launched to series


ABC has picked up the drama pilot "October Road" to series.

The network has given a six-episode order to the project, which GroupM Entertainment -- WPP's network of media agencies, including MediaCom, Mediaedge:cia and MindShare -- has come on board to co-produce with Touchstone TV.

It hasn't yet been determined if the series will run in the spring or summer.

"October," ordered to pilot this past development season, centers on a young, acclaimed novelist (Bryan Greenberg) at a crossroads in life when he returns to his hometown to teach at the local university and faces the family and friends he left behind.

The drama, which co-stars Tom Berenger and Geoff Stults, didn't make the cut in May, but the network kept the pilot in play by extending the options of the actors in July (HR 7/27).

"Investment in content opportunities is core to GroupM, and we feel fortunate to have ABC and Touchstone as our partners in this terrific new series," GroupM Entertainment president Peter Tortorici said.

The company looked at several ABC/Touchstone projects before choosing "October."

"We felt it had a very strong potential given the auspices and the people involved in the project," Mediaedge:cia chief investment officer Rino Scanzoni said.

"October" is executive produced by Gary Fleder, who also directed the pilot, Scott Rosenberg, Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec.

The series extends GroupM's relationship with Touchstone TV. A couple of years ago, the company's MindShare teamed with the studio to co-produce "The Days," a drama that ran on ABC in summer 2004.

"GroupM has proven to be an excellent partner in organically connecting creativity with viewers and advertisers," Touchstone TV president Mark Pedowitz said.

The terms of GroupM's participation on "October" are different from the extent of MindShare's involvement in "Days."

For "Days," MindShare fully financed the production of the series in exchange for half of the ad inventory on it, which the media buying agency used for its clients Unilever and Sears.

For "October," GroupM and Touchstone share the production costs following the traditional co-production model. The media buyer is set to receive "a time bank" of inventory of ad time on various shows on ABC that it will make available to all of its clients, Scanzoni said.

That mix might include "October," depending on when the network will put it on the air.
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