EXCLUSIVE: A supernatural crime drama inspired by the unlikely real-life friendship between Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and illusionist Harry Houdini is headed to the small screen in the U.S., UK and Canada. I’ve learned that Sony Pictures TV has sold the 10-episode series to Fox, the UK’s ITV and Canada’s Shaw Media. Titled Houdini And Doyle, the drama — which will go straight to series — hails from The Librarian franchise creator David Titcher, House creator David Shore and House writer-producer David Hoselton. Canada’s Shaftesbury and the UK’s Big Talk co-produce, with Sony TV, where Shore is under an overall deal, distributing worldwide. Fox had no comment.
In Houdini And Doyle, two of the great characters of the 20th century — Houdini, master magician, escape artist and paranormal debunker, and Doyle, creator of the world’s greatest detective and a paranormal aficionado — grudgingly join forces to investigate crimes with a supernatural slant. Although they’re both rich, famous and brilliant, they’re the original odd couple, with Houdini believing in nothing, Doyle in everything.
Houdini and Doyle were born 15 years apart into dramatically different families — Doyle the educated product of a proper Scottish upbringing and Houdinithe self-made son of a Hungarian immigrant. The two men, whose physical appearances also were in stark contrast, stroke an unusual and often rocky friendship based to their mutual interest in spiritualism.
History’s 2014 miniseries Houdini, starring Adrien Brody as the famous illusionist, touched upon his relationship Doyle, who was played by David Calder.
Hoselton wrote the script for Houdini And Doyle from a story by him and Titcher and will serve as showrunner. The two executive produce with Shore. The Librarians, based on Titcher’s TV movie franchise, has been a breakout series for TNT and was renewed for a second season. Shore is executive producing the new CBS series Battle Creek with Vince Gilligan and the CBS pilot Sneaky Pete with Bryan Cranston.
Titcher is repped by APA and Alexander Lawrence; Shore is with ICM Partners and the Shuman Co. Big Talk is repped by WME. Hoselton is with Rothman Brecher.