EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures is getting serious about Kojak, hiring the scribe team of Neal Purvis & Robert Wade to script a movie around the tough-talking, smooth scalped cop played by Telly Savalas on the CBS series. Vin Diesel, who just wrapped Fast And Furious 6 for the studio, will play the chrome-domed cop in the film, which he’s producing with Samantha Vincent for their Universal-based One Race Films.

The series, which ran from 1973-78, was a popular procedural with an iconic cop, and the scribes will re-imagine and contemporize it for the big screen. Purvis & Wade are coming off  Skyfall, which is nearing $1 billion in worldwide box office, and they wrote the previous four Bond films, including Casino Royale, Quantum Of Solace and Die Another Day. CAA and Brillstein rep Diesel, while UTA reps the scribes. Universal co-president of production Jeffrey Kirschenbaum and production veep Kristin Lowe are overseeing it for the studio.