NBC is getting in the ring with a put pilot commitment to a drama about the 1980s professional wrestling boom that is executive produced by one of the biggest ’90s wrestling stars, Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock. The fictional drama set in the world of wrestling in the ’80s hails from Bruckheimer TV, marking a departure from the company’s signature brand of procedurals. It will be written by Brent Fletcher and Seamus Kevin Fahey (Spartacus: Gods of the Arena), who will co-executive produce alongside KristieAnne Reed. Johnson, Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman are executive producing.
The ’80s, often called “the golden age of wrestling”, marked a surge in the popularity of professional wrestling in the U.S. fueled by the growth of cable television and pay-per-view and the efforts of hot-shot promoters like Vince McMahon. During that period, pro wrestling shifted from a system controlled by numerous regional companies to a system dominated by two nationwide companies: Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling and McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation. It featured the launch of WrestleMania and the emergence of wrestling’s first crop of superstars led by Hulk Hugan. The project extends the popularity of period dramas among the broadcast networks, which have two such series, the 1960s-set Pan Am on ABC and The Playboy Club on NBC, premiering this fall. It also expands wrestling’s presence at NBCUniversal. NBC’s sibling network USA carries WWE Raw as well as the revival of WWE Tough Enough. This is the third sale and third put pilot commitment for Bruckheimer TV so far this development season. The company recently set up a Navy SEALs drama at ABC and a procedural about a mom-turned-New York State Trooper at CBS. Fahey, repped by UTA and Underground Films & Management, previously worked with Bruckheimer TV as a writer on the ABC series The Forgotten. Fletcher is with CAA.