Fox is pulling the plug on Hieroglyph.
The ambitious Egyptian drama, which was one of several projects Fox greenlighted straight to series, is no longer moving forward due to creative reasons, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The decision comes one month after outgoing Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly announced he was departing at the end of June after seven years at the helm, with senior executives reporting to Fox COO Peter Rice. The timing of Hieroglyph‘s fate is particularly surprising as Reilly’s replacement has yet to be named.
Only the first episode had been filmed on the pricey Hieroglyph before writers began breaking scripts and stories, which weren’t meeting a certain level creatively, for the rest of the season. Filming on the remaining 12 episodes was expected to start later this year. Hieroglyph was expected to premiere on Fox in early 2015.
Last fall, Fox gave the action-adventure fantasy drama a hefty 13-episode order as part of Reilly’s move to bypass the traditional pilot season, bringing on Being Human executive producer Anna Fricke via an overall deal to serve as showrunner. Hieroglyph was Reilly’s passion project; he envisioned it as Fox’s version of the sweeping epic Game of Thrones.
The 20th Century Fox Television/Chernin Entertainment production was being written by Pacific Rim’s Travis Beacham. Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope, along with Beacham and Fringe’s Miguel Sapochnik, were executive producers. Sapochnik, who helmed Repo Man, directed the premiere episode. Production began earlier this year.
Set in the world of ancient Egypt, Hieroglyph follows a notorious thief who is plucked from prison to serve the Pharaoh, forcing him to navigate palace intrigue, seductive concubines, criminal underbellies and divine sorcerers, as he races to stop the downfall of one of history’s greatest civilizations.
Max Brown (Beauty and the Beast, Spooks) led the ensemble cast, which included Reece Ritchie, Condola Rashad, John Rhys-Davies, Caroline Ford, Antony Bunsee and Kelsey Chow.
For Fox, this marks the latest series it has scrapped before it premieres — the others being Us & Them, the half-hour comedy starring Alexis Bledel and Jason Ritter, and the animated effort Murder Police. Even with the setback, Fox plans on exercising Reilly’s year-round series model moving forward. Other freshman projects on the docket include Batman prequel Gotham, Backstrom, Weird Loners, Red Band Society, Gracepoint, Utopia, Mulaney and Last Man on Earth.