EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Paradise, a prison drama from hot novelist/feature writer Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and producer Greg Berlanti, has landed at NBC with a put pilot commitment. Written by Grahame-Smith, Paradise is set in the late 21st century in the city of Las Vegas which is now the world’s largest maximum-security prison, known as Paradise. Matthew Turner, M.D., is its newest inmate, convicted of a murder he didn’t commit. Desperate to get back to his family and prove his innocence, Matthew will have to find a strength he never knew he had, and stay alive long enough to do the one thing no inmate has ever done: escape. Paradise hails from Warner Bros. TV and studio-based Berlanti Prods., with Berlanti Prods.’ Greg Berlanti and Melissa Kellner Berman and KatzSmith Prods.’ Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg executive producing. Like Berlanti, Grahame-Smith has a feature deal at Warner Bros. (with partner Katzenberg) and he too is straddling film and television. The two were put together by WME, which reps both. At NBC, Paradise would join another drama about U.S. in the future from Warner Bros. TV and one of the studio’s top producers, J.J. Abrams’ Revolution. Prison dramas have a long history on TV, recently with HBO’s Oz, Fox’s Prison Break and Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black.
Grahame-Smith became a household name with his 2009 bestselling novel Pride And Prejudice and Zombies, which launched the “mash-up” literature craze. He followed up with another best seller, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which he also adapted for Tim Burton, a feature script that landed on the Black List in 2011. Grahame-Smith then penned Dark Shadows for Burton and is currently writing a sequel to Burton’s 1988 cult classic, Beetlejuice, which he and Katzenberg are producing. Grahame-Smith also is adapting his latest bestseller, Unholy Night, which Warner Bros. acquired in a record-setting deal. On the TV side, Grahame-Smith and Katzenberg created and executive produced MTV’s first scripted live-action comedy, The Hard Times Of RJ Berger, which ran for two seasons. Berlanti is behind one of the highest-profile projects for fall 2014, the CW’s The Flash, which will be spun off from the network’s breakout Arrow, also co-created and executive produced by Berlanti. He also has upcoming CW series The Tomorrow People, and his USA drama Political Animals is nominated for best miniseries Emmy. In addition to WME, Grahame-Smith and Katzenberg are repped by attorney Gregg Gellman. This marks the third major commitment for a drama project this selling season, along with the put pilot at Fox for Michael Green’s A League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the series order at CBS to Mickey Fisher/Amblin TV’s spec Extant.