One of the most popular book properties of the 21st century, James Patterson’s Womens_Murder_Club_Book_1-12Women’s Murder Club series, is getting a new television adaptation. I have learned that USA Network is in early development on 1st To Die (working title), a TV series based on the books written/executive produced by Tony Krantz and executive produced by James Patterson.

The books, about four women in San Francisco — a homicide detective, a reporter, the Chief Medical Examiner and a district attorney — solving crimes together,was previously made into an Angie Harmon-starring TV series on ABC eight years ago that had a short, 13-episode run.

usa-networkThe rights had reverted to Patterson but I hear he was reluctant to give a Women’s Murder Club TV series another try after a not-so-good experience on the ABC/20th TV one that was done largely without his involvement.

He changed his mind after he and his team at James Patterson Entertainment heard a pitch from producer Krantz, who also has been active as a writer in the past two years.

1sttodieWhile the ABC series was a traditional crime procedural with close-ended episodes, Krantz’s idea was doing each book as a 10-episode serialized season following one complicated and twisty murder mystery. Season 1 would be based on the first book, 1st To Die — about the hunt for a killer stalking newlyweds and I hear the producers and USA are eying that as a title for the whole series, in part to avoid confusion with the 2007 series.

Additionally, the new take on the books is described as noir and very cinematic, in the tradition of 1980s thrillers like Basic Instincts or David Fincher’s mysteries like Gone Girl.

Patterson and his team came on board, and the idea was pitched to USA brass, who liked it. Krantz is writing the script, with Patterson closely involved in the development. The two executive produce alongside James Patterson Entertainment’s Bill Robinson and Leopoldo Gout. Drew Comins of Krantz’s Flame Ventures serves as co-executive producer.

There have been 14 Women’s Murder Club books published so far, 12 of them #1 New York Times best sellers.

Krantz executive produces ABC’s new fall drama series Blood & Oil starring Don Johnson and Chace Crawford. Patterson executive produces CBS’ summer drama series Zoo based on his novel.