3RD UPDATE: ABC just greenlighted six drama pilots, including Marc Cherry’s Hallelujah, the Mark Gordon-produced Identity and Once Upon a Time, from Lost executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Also picked up are the Oren Peli/Steven Spielberg collaboration The River, co-produced by DreamWorks TV, the Darren Star-produced Good Christian Bitches and the Count of Monte-Cristo-flavored Revenge, co-produced by Twilight producer Temple Hill. All six pilots hail from ABC’s sibling ABC Studios.
ABC programming chief Paul Lee received Cherry’s script, the Desperate Housewives creator’s first since the hit ABC dramedy, over the weekend and quickly moved with a pilot order. Hallelujah is set in the town of Hallelujah, Tenn., which is being torn apart by the forces of good and evil. Its fortunes change when a stranger comes to town, bringing justice, peace and possibly restoring faith. There is a music twist: the episodes of Hallelujah will be punctuated by songs sung by the gospel choir, which serves as a sort of Greek chorus. In addition to writing, Cherry is exec producing with Sabrina Wind. This marks the first production order for Cherry and Wind’s new production banner Wind Prods.
Identity, written by Eagle Eye scribe John Glenn, is based on an ITV/ITV Studio format and is an action procedural centered on an elite police unit formed to combat the explosion of identity-related crime. Glenn and Gordon are executive producing with Deb Spera and ITV’s Paul Buccieri.
Once Upon a Time centers on a woman with a troubled past who is drawn into a small town in Maine where the magic and mystery of Fairy Tales just may be real. Lost co-creator/exec producer Damon Lindelof, who was involved in the development of the project alongside creators/executive producers Kitsis & Horowitz, is not attached to the pilot at this time. Kitsis & Horowitz recently wrote TRON: Legacy for Disney, supervised the TRON animated series for Disney XD and are awaiting green light at Universal for their Ouija script. Magical/fairy tale pilots are hot this season with Once Upon a Time joining NBC’s Grimm and 17th Precinct.
After a bidding war, The River, a horror drama in the mold of Paranormal Activity about a family who travels to the deep Amazon to locate and rescue their missing father, landed at ABC in September with a big put pilot commitment. Paranormal Activity writer-director Oren Peli co-wrote the first draft with Paranormal Activity 2 scribe Michael Perry. After ABC was not quite happy with the script, Heroes veteran and Kings creator Michael Green did a p.1 rewrite, which the network now greenlighted. Peli is executive producing with his producing partner Jason Blum and DreamWorks TV’s Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey. This is the third pilot for DreamWorks TV this season, along with Smash at NBC and Locke & Key at Fox.
Revenge, written by Swingtown creator Mike Kelley, is a contemporary re-imagening of Alexandre Dumas, pere’s The Count of Monte Cristo, which explores the classic tale from a female perspective and chronicles the story of a mysterious young woman who comes to the Hamptons to exact revenge on the people who destroyed her family. Kelley and Temple Hill’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen are exec producing. This is the first production order for Temple Hill under the overall deal the company inked with ABC Studios in December.
Good Christian Bitches, which has received a presentation order, was written by Steel Magnolias scribe Robert Harling based on the book by Kim Gatlin. Described as “Desperate Housewives in Dallas,” it centers on Amanda Vaughn, a recently divorced mother of two who, to get a fresh start, moves back to the affluent Dallas neighborhood where she grew to find herself in the whirling midst of salacious gossip, Botox, and fraud. The project was one of Lee’s first buys this season and landed at ABC in September with a put pilot commitment after a bidding war. Harling, Star and Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment are executive producing.