Hawley pacts with ABC Studios

'Unusuals' creator to pen two projects in new deal

ABC is staying in business with "The Unusuals" creator Noah Hawley, who has inked a blind deal with sister ABC Studios to write two new projects.

Not too bad, given that TV writing is Hawley's fourth career choice.

First off, the New York native joined a rock band as a singer-guitarist and did a series of gigs on the East Coast. "I was gonna be a rock star but got tired of living in a van with three filthy, penniless men," he said.

Disillusioned with the music business, where success has "so little to do with the quality of the music," Hawley, who was also the band's songwriter, decided he wanted to write more in-depth stories.

So he switched to books, publishing his first novel, "A Conspiracy of Tall Men," in 1997. That was followed by two more, "Other People's Weddings" in 2003 and "The Punch" in 2007.

In between the first two books, both of which were optioned by Paramount, he wrote a feature script that became the 2006 film "The Alibi" starring Steve Coogan.

Having migrated from music to fiction and then feature writing, Hawley said he started pondering, "What else can I get away with?"

"I got in television," he said.

Hawley penned four pilot scripts: two for FX, one for CBS (which got him his first staffing job on Fox's "Bones") and one for ABC, which became "Unusuals."

He reflected on the experience of trying to do on network TV what he said essentially was a cable drama with comedic elements in the vein of FX's "Rescue Me," whose creators Peter Tolan and Denis Leary were executive producers on the ABC series.

While he admits it wasn't easy, "other than the show not being picked up for a second season, I couldn't have had a better experience with ABC," he said.

Indeed, "Unusuals" enjoyed strong support among ABC brass, who placed the Sony TV-produced midseason series in a plum time slot following "Lost" and gave it a sample airing behind "Dancing With the Stars." They ultimately pulled the plug because of low ratings.

Soon, ABC Studios approached Hawley about a deal.

For his encore Hawley is looking to employ some of the storytelling elements he used on "Unusuals," where stories with different characters often intersected in unexpected ways. Also, he plans to continue mixing comedy and drama.

On the feature side, Hawley, repped by CAA and McKuin Frankel Whitehead, has two feature scripts he wrote with his twin brother Alexi -- "Dead in the Water" and "Home Free" -- in contention at Touchstone.