EXCLUSIVE: The summer of Wizard Of Oz continues with another sale of a high-profile Oz-themed drama project. I’ve learned that the CW is in negotiations for Dorothy Must Die, a drama from the Heroes trio of creator/exec producer Tim Kring and exec producers Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster. Written by Armus and Foster with Kring supervising, I hear the project is based on the upcoming young adult novel Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. It is a revisionist take on the classic tale set in present day, 80 years after Dorothy Gale supposedly came home. In reality, the magically-ever-youthful Dorothy has stayed in Oz, presiding over a now fascist fairyland with her perfectly manicured iron fist and the help of her henchmen – the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. But when another young woman from Kansas is swept up in a tornado and magically dropped into this war-torn Oz, our hero discovers a revolutionary underground of witches and enchanted beings only to learn that she is destined to lead their people in the fight to reclaim Oz from a power-hungry Dorothy’s ruthless clutches. The book will be published by HarperTeen next April, with digital prequel novella, No Place Like Oz, available now. The property originated at James Frey’s book-packaging company Full Fathom Five, with him and Todd Cohen, President of Film and Television, exec producing alongside Armus, Foster and Kring.
Dorothy Must Die, which is yet to be laid off at a studio, is the fourth Wizard Of Oz TV project sold in the past two months. It joins NBC drama Emerald City, a dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz in the vein of Game Of Thrones from writer Matthew Arnold, CBS’ Dorothy, a medical soap inspired by the characters and themes from The Wizard Of Oz, and Syfy’s miniseries Warriors Of Oz from director Timur Bekmambetov, a fantasy-action reimagining of the classic story. The great interest in Wizard Of Oz is not entirely unexpected as the title has been getting a lot of attention in conjunction with the upcoming 75th anniversary of the 1939 feature, which will include a 3D re-release of the Judy Garland starrer. It also comes on the heels of the success of Oz The Great And Powerful earlier this year.
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The great interest in Wizard Of Oz properties this year comes on the heels of multiple Sleepy Hollow and Beauty And The Beast projects getting developed the last two development seasons. Both times, one of the projects, CW’s Beauty And The Beast and Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, went to series. In addition to Dorothy Must Die, Kring has another project with a writing duo in the works at the CW, a drama about illegal abilities-enhancing pills in American high schools. Heroes alum Zach Craley and Jarrett Conaway are writing. Kring, who most recently created/exec produced Fox drama Touch, and Armus and Foster, who serve as co-exec producers on Fox’s The Following, are with WME.