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Fox has officially greenlit its first event series, handing out the order to Wayward Pines and tapping Matt Dillon to star in the drama from M. Night Shyamalan and Chad Hodge.
The drama, based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Blake Crouch, Pines is described as a thriller in the vein of Twin Peaks. The drama revolves around Ethan Burke (Dillon), a Secret Service agent who arrives in the bucolic town of Wayward Pines, Id., on a mission to find two missing federal agents. But instead of answers, Ethan’s investigation only turns up more questions. Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the life he knew, from the husband and father he was, until he must face the terrifying reality that he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive.
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The Playboy Club‘s Hodge penned the script, with Shyamalan, Hodge, Donald De Line and Ashwin Rajan on board to exec produce the FX Productions effort. Fox landed the project, based on a spec from Hodge, after a competitive bidding situation. Fox will bow the 10-episode drama in 2014.
“I read it in about a day and a half and fell in love with it,” Hodge told The Hollywood Reporterof Wayward Pines. “When closed the book was, I thought it was the perfect television show — mystery, question marks and mythology. I wrote it in three weeks. We talked about directors attached to the script before we took it out. We took it to Shyamalan first and within two days he was attached and I flew out to Philadelphia to meet with him and we totally hit it off. We sent out the script and sold it in this great way to Fox to do it as 12-episode straight to series model.”
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Wayward is one of multiple event series Fox currently has in development as it looks to lure top names for shorter time commitments in a bid for prestige and draw eyeballs to programming without interruption, a la The Following. Fox also has event series Blood Brothers (from Band of Brothers’ Bruce C. McKenna),a Shogun remake from Michael De Luca and Nigel Williams and The People v. O.J. Simpson, which hails from Golden Globe winners Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (The People vs. Larry Flint).
Speaking to reporters ahead of its upfront presentation, Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly also confirmed 24 would return as a limited series and be the first of its kind on the air in May 2014, likely leading into Wayward Pines as a way to bridge the gap between spring and fall as the network looks to shift to a year-round schedule.
For Dillon, Wayward marks his first series regular role. His credits include a guest gig on Modern Family and feature Crash, for which he earned a supporting actor Oscar nomination. He’s repped by CAA, Untitled and Wendy Heller Law.
Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit
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