UPDATED: NBC has given a 10-episode order to Emerald City, an Oz-themed drama from Siberia creator/showrunner Matthew Arnold. The order comes after Josh Friedman, who supervised the writing, recently took a pass at the script. The two executive produce through Universal Television where Friedman is under a deal. A writers room is slated to get up and running soon but casting may be postponed until after pilot season. Emerald City is described as a modern and dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz in the vein of Game Of Thrones, drawing upon stories from Baum’s original 14 books that include lethal warriors, competing kingdoms, and the infamous wizard as we’ve never seen him before. A head-strong 20-year-old Dorothy Gale is unwittingly sent on an eye-opening journey that thrusts her into the center of an epic and bloody battle for the control of Oz. Following the success of the 1900 The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz, Baum wrote 13 sequel novels. Emerald City is the one of several Wizard Of Oz in development at various networks and the first to get a green light.
NBC also has greenlighted The Slap, an eight-episode miniseries based on the 2011 Australian short-run series. Brothers & Sisters creator Jon Robin Baitz wrote the adaptation, which is being produced by Universal Television and Australia’s Matchbox Pictures that produced the original. Playwright/screenwriter Baitz and Matchbox’s Tony Ayres will executive produce with Universal TV-based Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald as well as Ted Gold. The Slap is described as a complex family drama that explodes from one small incident where a man slaps another couple’s misbehaving child. This seemingly minor domestic dispute pulls the family apart, begins to expose long-held secrets, and ignites a lawsuit that challenges the core American values of all who are pulled into it. The Australian series, an adaptation of the 2008 best-selling novel by Australian author Christos Tsiolkas, also had a limited 8-episode run on ABC1 and starred Jonathan LaPaglia, brother of Anthony LaPaglia, Melissa George and Hotel Rwanda‘s Sophie Okonedo.
On the pilot front, NBC has greenlighted the drama project starring Grey’s Anatomy alumna Katherine Heigl, now titled State Of Affairs. Joe Carnahan, director of the pilot for NBC’s Blacklist who also has written 2 episodes of the hit drama, has come aboard to do a rewrite of the original script penned by Alexi Hawley, who remains on the show, and will direct the pilot. Produced by Universal TV, State Of Affairs stars Heigl as a key CIA attaché who counsels the president on high-stakes incidents around the world. She balances her intense political responsibilities with a complicated personal life. Heigl and her mom Nancy Heigl executive produce under their Abishag Prods banner along with Carnahan, Hawley, Robert Simonds, Sophie Watts, Henry Crumpton and Rodney Faraon, who has debriefed several presidents. This is the first TV project to come out of a joint venture between Aardwolf Creative and film producer Simonds. Julia Franz, who works with Simonds, will also exec produce.