When Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen’s Temple Hill Entertainment entered television in 2010 with an overall deal at ABC Studios, the first project the company sold was a new take on a classic literary work with a seasoned showrunner attached as writer. The project, a contemporary twist on The Count of Monte Cristo from a female perspective written by Swingtown creator Mike Kelley, became ABC’s breakout soap Revenge.
Now, as the Twilight producer just renewed its deal at ABC Studios, the company’s first project under the new pact is another drama for ABC that reinvents classic public domain literary characters and will be penned by veteran TV writer-producers. The characters are Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn and the writers Jason Richman and David Zabel. The project, which is looking to replicate the success of Revenge, is a mystery adventure that follows the exploits of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, as young men in their 20’s as they form an investigative firm in a bustling, steampunk New Orleans. Richman and Zabel will write the project, which has received a script commitment, and will executive produce with Bowen and Godfrey. I hear Bowen and Godfrey have long been fans of Twain’s characters and had been looking to work with ABC Studios-based Richman and Zabel. The project came out of the quartet’s shared interest in classical literature.
This marks the third consecutive collaboration for Richman and Zabel at ABC and ABC Studios. They first worked together on the 2010 drama Detroit 1-8-7, which Richman created and former ER showrunner Zabel joined as showrunner at the pilot stage. Last year, they re-teamed to co-write together the drama script Two Roads, which was in the vein of Sliding Doors.
This is the second project this development season that features grown-up versions of iconic kids literary characters. 20th Century Fox TV and Imagine TV are working on The League Of Pan, a re-imagining of the Peter Pan mythology that is set in modern day, centers around the Lost Boys and takes place 10 years after they’ve left Neverland.