EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that ABC is finalizing deals for a 13-episode, straight-to-series order to The Black Box, a drama project written by The Relic and Mystic Pizza scribe Amy Holden Jones. She is executive producing with The L Word creator Ilene Chaiken, who will serve as showrunner, X-Men director Bryan Singer, 3 Arts’ Oly Obst (The Invention Of Lying), and Anne Thomopoulos (Borgia). The Black Box centers on Elizabeth Black, world renowned neuroscientist who appears to have it all but is constantly haunted by her own struggle with mental illness. And that is not the only secret she’s kept locked away from her family and her new fiancé.
The series is produced by independent film finance and production company Bold Films (Legion) in its first foray into TV production, with Sierra Engine handling international distribution. No premiere date has been set yet but I hear the series is being eyed for midseason, possibly January. This marks the first international package deal for WME, which reps Jones, Singer and Chaiken. I hear the agency took an old spec written by Jones after it was reverted to her, attached Singer, brought in Bold and Sierra Engine, pre-sold the series internationally and then took it to the U.S. marketplace where it landed at ABC after a bidding war. Bold Films is the latest independent studio/financier to enter the U.S. TV market with straight-to-series projects, joining such recent upstarts as Georgeville and Gaumont.
In TV, Singer also is shepherding a reboot of The Twilight Zone at CBS TV Studios. The Black Box reunites Jones and Obst who developed together another medical drama project last season, Island Practice at CBS/20th TV/Imagine. The series also extends Chaiken’s relationship with ABC where she executive produced/showran drama pilot Venice this past season.