EXCLUSIVE: After recently venturing into cable with the Showtime series Shameless, HBO’s miniseries Mildred Pierce and TNT’s drama Southland, which originated on NBC, John Wells’ Warner Bros TV-based production company is shifting its attention back to broadcast TV this development season. John Wells Prods has already sold two projects, both based on books: Easy Rawlins to NBC and an untitled high-concept drama from Carol Walper to ABC. Several more pitches will be taken out shortly.
NBC’s Easy Rawlins is based on Walter Mosley’s best-selling novels about black P.I. Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, who finds himself solving crimes and dealing with the changing world around him in 1960s Los Angeles. (The books are set from the 1940s to 1960s.) Easy is a reluctant, self-taught P.I. with a conscience and a soul — and he easily slips between white Los Angeles and the black underground. Mosley will write the series adaptation with Southland co-executive producer Cheo Coker. A drama adaptation of Mosley’s Easy Rollins book series, which spanned 11 novels, was developed by USA Network seven years ago. Additionally, Mosley served as an executive producer on the 2003 CBS drama pilot The Law & Mr. Lee, about an Oakland-based private eye played by Danny Glover. Easy Rawlins is the second project based on well-known mystery series books with a minority protagonist to be set up at the broadcast networks this season. CBS recently bought a drama based on Leslie Glass’ Alice Woo novels from CBS TV Studios and Apostle.
ABC’s untitled Carol Wolper project is based on Wolper’s book Ann of Hollywood, which comes out in January. Wolper will write the adaptation, which takes the Tudors and puts them in modern-day Los Angeles. The book is described as a contemporary reinvention of Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl. In it, Wolper gives Henry the Eighth’s second wife Anne Boleyn a modern frame as a woman in her late twenties who is smart, witty, and just a cut above her contemporaries. Author Wolper’s TV credits include the 2007 ABC pilot Marlowe.