In a highly competitive situation, Caesar, a sprawling contemporary drama from Matt Lopez and John Glenn, has landed at ABC abclogowith a put pilot commitment. The project, which reimagines Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar in modern-day Los Angeles, is described as a tale of power, sex and revenge — themes right in ABC’s drama wheelhouse. On the show, the murder of the powerful Hispanic mayor sends shockwaves through the city’s elite circles — and launches the search for a killer.

julius-caesarLopez will write the script. He and Glenn will executive produce, reuniting after collaborating on the NBC/Universal TV legal drama project Justice last season. Universal TV, where both Glenn and Lopez are under overall deals, is the studio.

This marks the third 2015 broadcast drama project for Glenn, repped by WME, manager Brian Lutz and attorney Warren Dern. He is writing Heavenly Creatures, a new take on NBC/Uni TV’s guardian angels pilot from last season, Unveiled, with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey executive producing. Glenn’s Heavenly Creatures follows a war hero who rediscovers his purpose in life when a celestial being offers him a chance to change the world, one person at a time. Additionally, Glenn is executive producing NBC/Uni TV’s Miranda’s Rights, a millennial look at a legal drama, which is being written by Katie Lovejoy.

Caesar marks Lopez’s return to ABC, where he wrote the 2013 drama pilot Gothica. In features, Lopez, repped by WME and attorney Melissa Rogal, has been a go-to screenwriter for family fare such as Bedtime Stories, Race To Witch Mountain and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. He is adapting the best-selling children’s book The Day The Crayons Quit as a feature at Universal, with Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage producing.

Julius Caesar joins other classic literary works that are getting modern-day series treatment this pitch season, like CBS’ Sawyer & Huck drama, which also has a put pilot commitment, and the CW’s gritty take on Little Women. 

While it does not have the instant name recognition of other Shakespeare plays such as Romeo & Juliet or Hamlet, Julius Caesar has coined or helped popularize several phrases that have become pop culture staples including “Et tu, Brute?” and “It was Greek to me” and two expressions that became titles of books/Hollywood movies, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars” (The Fault In Our Stars) and “Beware the ides of March” (Ides of March). Other memorable Julius Caesar quotes include “Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once,” “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” and “Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more.”