EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Fox has landed Everest, a 10-part event series from Alcon Entertainment. There is a multiple script order for the project, which is in the process of setting up a writers room. Created by Jeffrey Lieber (Necessary Roughness) and produced by Alcon and FX Prods, Everest — which is being pitched as renewable limited series that can have follow-up cycles — is described as a suspenseful, action-packed drama that revolves around a group of hikers on an expedition to conquer Mount Everest. Secrets are revealed and the truth about their motives are uncovered as the group struggles to survive on the world’s highest peak. Everest marks one of the first major TV sales for the TV division of Warner Bros-based Alcon Entertainment, which was launched last year when former Sony Pictures TV head of drama Sharon Hall was tapped to run it. The company has spent the last year actively acquiring properties and developing and packaging projects with a focus on going straight to series. The pitch for Everest too was the result of a four- to five-month development process. Lieber was brought to Alcon by Hall, who worked with the Necessary Roughness exec producer/showrunner while she was at Sony.
Lieber had been obsessed with Mount Everest and had interviewed a number of climbers while researching what he was initially envisioning as a feature. He eventually decided that he couldn’t quite contain the story in a movie, and the project was reshaped as an event series. Given Alcon’s focus on the direct-to-series model, instead of doing one script for Everest, the company and producing partners FX Prods are launching a writers room, with three upper-level writers expected to join Lieber to produce 3-4 finished scripts and a bible. Alcon also is working on a production plan for the potential series, so it is ready to hit the ground running in an event of a pickup.
CAA-repped Lieber is executive producing Everest with Hall, Alcon co-founders and co-CEOs Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove and Madhouse’s Robyn Meisinger and Adam Kolbrenner. Alcon Television, which develops, finances and produces original programming for broadcast and cable, also has a Frank Sinatra documentary in the works at HBO and is developing a drama based on the best-selling book series The Expanse with Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby and Rachel Rising with Amy Sherman-Palladino.