EXCLUSIVE: NBC is making a major move in the event programming arena with The Slap, an eight-episode limited series based on the 2011 Australian short-run series. Brothers & Sisters creator Jon Robin Baitz will write the adaptation, which is being produced by Universal Television and Australia’s Matchbox Pictures, which produced the original. Playwright/screenwriter Baitz and Matchbox’s Tony Ayres will executive produce with Universal TV-based Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald as well as Ted Gold.
The Australian series, an adaptation of the 2008 best-selling novel by Australian author Christos Tsiolkas, examines what happens when a man slaps a child (unrelated to him) at a suburban barbecue. Subsequent episodes focus on the different viewpoints of those who attended the barbecue. (Watch trailer below) The original, which also had a limited 8-episode run on ABC1 last fall, starred Jonathan LaPaglia, brother of Anthony LaPaglia, Melissa George and Hotel Rwanda‘s Sophie Okonedo. It earned nine nominations at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, winning five awards, including best telefilm, mini-series or short-run series. The Slap also was nominated for a BAFTA Award for best international program.
NBC brass have talked about adding event programming to the network’s lineup. In June, NBC announced its plans for The Sound Of Music, a live broadcast of a new production of the original Broadway musical to be produced by Smash executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. In a TV universe steadily taken over by time-shifted viewing, sports and event programming’s importance is on the rise. Fox and its sibling FX announced earlier this week the launch of a new production unit that will supply the networks with limited and mini-series.
Under Parkes/MacDonald Prods.’ first-look deal with Uni TV, the company is producing the mid-season NBC pirate series Crossbones. CAA-repped Baitz was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his play Other Desert Cities.