Fox straps in for 12-episode 'Drive'


Fox has revved up the drama pilot "Drive" with a 12-episode series order.

The pickup will bring the total number of episodes ordered to 13, including the pilot. The 20th Century Fox TV-produced show is targeted for a spring launch.

"Drive," whose ensemble cast includes Alan Ruck, Kristin Lehman, Melanie Lynskey, Emily Stone, Shahine Ezell and Andres Saenz-Hudson, chronicles an underground race across America. The pilot, from writer/executive producer Tim Minear, was filmed during the summer by director/executive producer Greg Yaitanes.

"This is the perfect birthday gift," Minear, who celebrated his birthday on Sunday, said of the series pickup. "It is a unique project, not straight down the line, and that's what frightened and excited people about it."

It's been a bumpy ride for "Drive," which was delivered to the network more than a month ago. For a few weeks, the project appeared to be dead, and Minear, who is under an overall deal with 20th TV, joined the Fox/20th TV rookie drama series "Standoff" as a consulting producer (HR 9/26). "Drive" began heating up again last week when rumors about a possible midseason pickup began to surface.

Meanwhile, another midseason prospect at Fox, the NASA ensemble drama "Beyond," is not going forward at this time.

Minear will stay on "Standoff" for the remainder of the series' original 13-episode order, until "Drive" gets up and running, and will then get behind the drivers seat of his series, which he will executive produce with Ben Queen and Yaitanes.

Minear said he hopes to do minor tinkering on the pilot with some reshoots but doesn't plan any casting changes.