UPDATE 4:15 PM: ABC has picked up two more hourlong pilots, thriller Reckless, executive produced by Martin Campbell, and gumshoe dramedy Murder In Manhattan, exec produced by Ryan Reynolds. That brings today’s ABC tally to four, all from sibling ABC Studios. Reckless, written/exec produced by Mad Men co-executive producer Chris Black, centers on a resourceful problem solver who, when his wife is unjustly imprisoned during a political uprising overseas, resorts to entering a world of political intrigue, dangerous alliances and high emotional stakes in order to get her out. This marks the second ABC pilot order for Campbell, who is under a deal at ABC Studios, along with Killer Women. Murder In Manhattan, written by Maria Maggenti, is an hourlong dramedy set in NYC centering on a mother and daughter who team up as amateur sleuths. Ryan Reynolds and Allan Loeb’s DarkFire TV co-produces with ABC Studios. Maggenti, repped by Paradigm and Madhouse, Reynolds, Loeb, Jonathon Komack Martin and Steven Pearl exec produce.
PREVIOUS: It is Disney corporate synergy in action today as ABC has given a pilot order to Big Thunder, a drama based on Disney’s Big Thunder Mountain roller-coaster ride at four of its theme parks (California, Florida, Tokyo and Paris). The network also has greenlighted to pilot drama Gothica, executive produced by Mark Gordon. Both hail from ABC Studios.
The Western-themed Big Thunder Mountain ride is set in a mining town amid the gold rush in the American Southwest that gets hit by a natural disaster. The TV project centers on a brilliant, late 19th century New York doctor. He and his family are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to relocate to a frontier mining town run by a powerful, but mysterious tycoon but quickly realize that not everything in Big Thunder is as it seems. The script was written by Jason Fuchs (Ice Age: Continental Drift), with Chris Morgan (Fast Five) supervising. Both executive produce. If it goes to series, Big Thunder Mountain will join another Disney theme parks-friendly ABC series, fairytale drama Once Upon A Time. This marks the first pilot for 26-year-old Fuchs who has been juggling multiple feature assignments following the box-office success of the fourth Ice Age movie. This development season also marked hot feature scribe Morgan’s first foray into television. He also has script Gang Related at Fox, which is zeroing in on a pickup. On the film side, the ICM Partners-repped writer has a deal at Universal where he is writing and producing Fast & Furious 6. Fuchs is with WME and Emily Gerson Saines.
The Matt Lopez-penned Gothica, co-produced by the Mark Gordon Co., is described as a sexy gothic soap set in present day that weaves together a mythology that incorporates the legends of Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein and Dorian Gray among others. The concept seems similar to ABC’s fairytale drama Once Upon A Time but with characters from classic horror literature. Meanwhile, Penny Dreadful, Showtime’s straight-to-series drama from John Logan and Sam Mendes, features some of the same characters as Gothica – including Dr. Frankenstein and his creature, Dorian Gray and Dracula – but is set in Victorian London. Gordon is with ICM Partners.