HBO OKs medical drama pilot


HBO has given the green light to a medical drama pilot that J.J. Abrams is in negotiations to executive produce and possibly direct.

The untitled project, from feature writers Tom Schulman, an Oscar winner for 1989's "Dead Poets Society," and Rafael Yglesias, is a hospital drama that explores the battle against cancer from the patients' point of view.

It is based on the book "The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness" by Jerome Groopman, a professor at Harvard Medical School and writer for the New Yorker.

The book, published in 2004, tells the stories of seriously ill patients of Groopman who had relied on their hope to cope with their illness.

Groopman and his wife, Pamela Hartzband, also a professor at Harvard Medical School, will serve as consultants on the show.

The project was developed internally at HBO with Schulman and Yglesias, who also are executive producing, and was then taken to Abrams.

Abrams will executive produce through his overall deal with Warner Bros. TV. This is the first project Abrams tackles under the blockbuster six-year pact his company Bad Robot inked with WBTV in July.

Schulman's credits also include features "Holy Man" and "8 Heads in a Duffel Bag."

Yglesias' credits include "Les Miserables," "From Hell" and "Dark Water."

Abrams is repped by WMA and attorneys Jim Jackoway and Alan Wertheimer.

Schulman is repped by CAA. Yglesias is repped by WMA.