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Swank will star in a newspaper drama that is being written, directed and exec produced by McCarthy for ABC, which has picked up the untitled Alaska drama with a pilot order. The project is being eyed for consideration as part of the Craig Erwich-led broadcaster’s 2022-23 pilot season as ABC, like other broadcast networks, is shifting to more of a year-round pilot model.
The drama revolves around a star journalist (Swank) who moves to Alaska for a fresh start after a career-killing misstep and finds redemption personally and professionally after joining a daily metro newspaper in Anchorage.
Former Fox 21 president Bert Salke will exec produce via his recently launched Co-lab21 banner alongside McCarthy and his Slow Pony topper Melissa Wells. Swank also exec produces. The Anchorage Daily News’ Kyle Hopkins and Ryan Binkley will also exec produce.
The untitled Alaska drama is the first major order to come from Erwich since he added oversight of ABC entertainment in December. He continues to oversee Hulu as well as ABC’s content streams on Hulu.
The drama hails from 20th Television, where Salke is now based with a four-year overall deal after he stepped down as Fox 21 president as part of the same Disney executive shake-up in December. Fox 21, which was rebranded last year as Touchstone Television, was folded into 20th Television.
Swank, who won Oscars for Boys Don’t Cry and Million Dollar Baby, most recently starred in and exec produced Netflix’s short-lived space drama Away. She also counts roles in FX limited series Trust among her TV credits. She’s repped by WME, Management 360 and Jackoway Tyerman.
McCarthy, repped by Gersh and Frankfurt Kurnit, most recently co-wrote, directed and produced Stillwater. He earned an Oscar for his original screenplay for newspaper drama Spotlight and counts The Visitor, The Station Agent and Up among his credits. On the TV side, he exec produced Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and wrote the premiere episode of Showtime’s The Loudest Voice.
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