EXCLUSIVE: Fox has preemptively bought Magicians, a drama series adaptation of Lev Grossman’s popular fantasy novel, with a script commitment plus penalty. It will be written by X-Men: First Class and Thor co-writers Ashley Miller & Zack Stentz and produced by Michael London (Milk), Shawn Levy and Michael Adelstein. Based on Grossman’s book, which is described as Harry Potter for grown-ups, the one-hour drama follows a group of 20-somethings in New York who study magic and have access to a magical world. London had optioned the novel, which was published in 2009, while 21 Laps/Adelstein had a deal with Miller and Stentz, who have extensive TV background having worked on such series as Fringe and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. All joined forces on the series project, which will be executive produced by Miller, Stentz, London, Levy, Adelstein and Becky Clements. Following the success of The Magicians, Grossman wrote a sequel, The Magician King, which was published in August.
Contemporary dramas with fairytale elements are hot for a second consecutive broadcast development season. The previous one yielded 2 new series in the genre, ABC’s Once Upon a Time and NBC’s Grimm. This time around, Magicians joins a project from Michael Green, which recently landed a put pilot commitment at ABC. It centers on a female cop who discovers a magical world that exists within New York City.
21 Laps/Adelstein, which has the Tim Allen ABC comedy Last Man Standing launching next week, has already sold a slew of projects this season, including a Romancing the Stone adaptation penned by Mark Friedman to NBC, a medical dramedy written by Jessica Queller, ensemble comedy Gorilla Time penned by Stacy Traub & Hayes Jackson, CIA drama by Karyn Usher and family comedy Threepete written by Carter Covington — all to Fox. Additionally, the company recently received a cast-contingent pilot pickup at Fox for multi-camera comedy Little Brother penned by Mike Royce. London is with CAA, while WME reps 21 Laps/Adelstein and Miller & Stentz who are managed by Principato-Young.