EXCLUSIVE: The CW is taking on a literary classic in one of its first script buys of the 2015-16 development season. The network has put in development Little Women, a drama from rising writer Alexis Jolly, NCIS co-star Michael Weatherly and CBS TV Studios.
Written by Jolly, Little Women is described as a hyper-stylized, gritty adaptation of the 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott, in which disparate half-sisters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy band together in order to survive the dystopic streets of Philadelphia and unravel a conspiracy that stretches far beyond anything they have ever imagined – all while trying not to kill each other in the process. Jolly and Weatherly executive produce. The project hails from Weatherly’s Solar Drive Productions, which is based at CBS TV Studios under an overall deal Weatherly inked with the studio last year that also includes his services on NCIS. Tiffany Grant, who runs Solar Drive’s television operations, will also produce.
Little Women has undergone a number of screen adaptations over the years, including features starring Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Kirsten Dunst and Christian Bale (1994), Meredith Baxter (1978), Elizabeth Taylor (1949) and Katharine Hepburn (1933). In TV, there were animated series in the 1980s. Last fall, ABC put in development a modern-day take on Little Women as a potential limited series with Natascha McElhone attached to star and Jordan Roberts to write.
Jolly, who most recently completed a rewrite on the Amazon feature Tiger, Tiger, and sold his original Black List spec script, A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood (a biopic based on the life of Fred Rogers) to Justin Nappi and Kevin Turen’s Treehouse Pictures, also has drama Dark Match, dealing with the families at the center of the origin of professional wrestling, set up at FX via Nina Jacobson’s Color Force production banner. He is repped by APA, Echo Lake and Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler. Weatherly is with Anonymous and McKuin, Frankle, Whitehead.