EXCLUSIVE: Melissa Rosenberg has teamed with ABC and Endemol Studios for an U.S. adaptation of Endemol’s Dutch drama format Penoza. The Twilight scribe will write and executive produce the project, one of two dramas based on international Endemol formats that Endemol Studios has set up at ABC and ABC Studios, along with Spirited, which will be written by Chris Black (Desperate Housewives) and Henry Alonso Myers (Chuck). These are the first 2 sales for Endemol Studios, which was launched by Endemol USA in August. For Rosenberg, this is the second project this TV development season. She also executive produces Afterthought, a murder mystery drama at NBC written by Evan Daugherty (Snow White and the Huntsman).
The Rosenberg-penned Penoza centers on a widow of an assassinated criminal who is suddenly forced to adopt her late husband’s role in order to protect her family. Rosenberg, who will serve as showrunner, is executive producing with Alon Aranya (The Naked Truth) and Howard Klein. Penoza was originally created by Pieter Bart Korthuis for Endemol’s NL Film & TV and producer Alain de Levita. The series is now filming its second season for KRO in the Netherlands. Rosenberg is the second highest-grossing female screenwriter of all time, having written all movies in the blockbuster Twilight franchise based on the novels by Stephanie Meyer, including Breaking Dawn Part 1, which opens tomorrow. On the TV side, she most recently served as an executive producer on the hit Showtime drama Dexter. Penoza falls into Rosenberg’s mission of tackling film and television properties with strong, female protagonists. Rosenberg has another project in that mold at ABC and ABC Studios: AKA Jessica Jones, a drama based on the Marvel Alias comic books by Brian Michael Bendis. The project, originally put in development last season, is still in consideration at the network. It is one of several projects Rosenberg is shepherding through her production company Tall Girls Prods. That includes NBC’s Afterthought, about an unconventional team within the FBI that uses the six-hour window between clinical death and cellular death to solve murders by entering the memories of the recently deceased. On the feature side, UTA-repped Rosenberg has Earthseed at Paramount, an adaptation of Pamela Sargent’s sci-fi novel about a group of teenagers who grow up on a spaceship headed for a new planet and have to face a mysterious foe they didn’t know existed.
Spirited tells the story of Suzy Darling, a recently divorced mother of two whose life is forever changed through her unexpected relationship with Henry Mallet, the ghost of an ‘80s English punk rock star. Chris Black and Henry Alonso Myers will write and executive produce the project based on the series created in 2009 by Claudia Karvan and Jacquelin Perske for Endemol’s Southern Star for Foxtel in Australia. “It is enormously exciting that we have such rich material to bring the network from the Endemol teams in Australia and the Netherlands and we look forward to working with Melissa on Penoza, Chris and Henry on Spirited,” said Philippe Maigret, CEO of Endemol Studios. The two projects bring the number of scripted sales for Endemol Studios to 3, joining Low Winter Sun at AMC, a modern gothic tale of murder, high-level corruption, deception and cold-blooded revenge based on the 2006 two-part British drama. Additionally, prior to the launch of Endemol Studios, Endemol USA developed and is executive producing the AMC drama series Hell On Wheels. All 4 projects have been spearheaded by Jeremy Gold who serves as Head of Creative Affairs at Endemol Studios. Below are trailers for the original Spirited and Penoza (last one in Dutch):