ABC, home of the Walkers of California from Brothers & Sisters, may be welcoming another sprawling dysfunctional family to its fold: the Wingos of South Carolina. The network is developing a series adaptation of The Prince of Tides. I hear the hourlong project is expected to stay closer to Pat Conroy’s 1986 novel than to the 1991 Columbia Pictures movie starring Barbra Streisand and Nick Nolte that it spawned. Bob Brush and Mel Harris will write the script for the project from Sony TV and will executive produce with Eric Tannenbaum, Kim Tannenbaum and Mitch Hurwitz, former partners at Sony’s Tantamount, and Craig Anderson. Conroy is on board as a non-writing consultant.
Prince is the story of a destructive family relationship and a father’s abuse of his wife and children told through the eyes of one of the grown-up children, Tom Wingo, a former high school teacher and coach, now out of work after a nervous breakdown. While helping his twin sister Savannah, a renowned poet, to recover from a suicide attempt, he recalls their growing-up years on isolated Melrose Island where their father Henry Wingo was a shrimper fishing the seas off the South Carolina coast and squandering what little money he made in business schemes, and his beautiful wife, Lila, was both his victim and a manipulative and guilt-inflicting mother. There is also a mystery at the heart of the tale – what happened to Tom and Savannah’s older brother Luke. The 1991 movie, which Streisand directed and Conroy co-wrote with Becky Johnston, received 7 Oscar nominations and earned Nolte a Golden Globe for playing Tom.