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Zayn Malik has a surprising new collaborator: Dick Wolf.
The One Direction grad and the prolific TV producer have joined forces on an hourlong boy band drama set up at NBC, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
Titled Boys, the project centers on the formation of a hugely successful boy band and captures all the excitement, competition and fun, but also takes an inside look at the pressure that comes with the success.
Wolf’s wife, Noelle Wolf, first brought the project to NBC — where her husband has four (soon to be five) series on the air — with Unigram’s Amanda Ghost and Gregor Cameron, as well as First Access Entertainment’s Sarah Stennett, attached. Sherri Cooper Landsman and Jennifer Levin (Beauty and the Beast) will write the project and executive produce with the Wolfs, Malik, Ghost and Peter Jankowski. Cameron is on board as a co-executive producer for the project, with Stennett attached as executive music producer. In partnership with NBCUniversal, Stennett will manage all music rights created in the series.
Universal Television will produce the project in association with Wolf Films.
“It’s exciting to be diving into this project with such passionate and prolific producers,” NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said Tuesday in a statement. “Zayn certainly brings an authentic point of view to this world where kids are catapulted into fame at a dizzying speed. On top of our excitement around the creative ideas being discussed, we have a lot of respect for the musical and digital ambitions behind the project.”
Added Noelle Wolf: “We were intrigued by the synergistic potential that Zayn brings to the project. Boys will be a show that’s totally integrated on broadcast and digital platforms. Casting and original music will be major components, giving the show promotional potential on multiple levels.”
Unigram centers on the development of film, TV and alternative media that features music as a central character. First Access, which reps Malik, focuses on talent development and representation, brand development and representation, recording artists and songwriters and rights exploitation across the music, entertainment and fashion industries.
This marks the first TV foray for Malik, who left boy band One Direction in 2015 to launch a successful solo career that includes hits like “Pillow Talk” and “Like I Would.” Malik, and the rest of One Direction, famously got their start on the U.K. reality competition series The X Factor.
“Dick Wolf is a legend and the opportunity to work with him and NBC to create a compelling drama series is awesome,” said Malik.
For Dick Wolf, Boys is one of two projects in development at NBC. The other is a New York City-set FBI drama. The Emmy winner, who has called the network home since 1990, boasts four scripted dramas on NBC this fall with Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med. He also has two upcoming series: legal spinoff Chicago Justice, which is set to bow midseason, and anthology Law & Order: True Crime, the first season of which will center on the infamous Menendez murders. Back in February, Wolf signed a lucrative overall deal with Universal Television that runs through 2020.
Boys marks one of the collaborations between the Law & Order creator and his wife.
Landsman and Levin come to the project fresh off the CW remake of Beauty and the Beast, which will wrap its fourth and final season on Sept. 15.
If Boys goes to series, it would be NBC’s first musical series since Smash was canceled in 2013. That drama also boasted original songs and centered on a music-heavy plot involving a Broadway musical. Nashville and Empire also have found success with releasing original music. The former also has launched several cross-country tours in support of the original music from the show.
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