EXCLUSIVE: The Western genre continues to be hot at the TV networks. In a competitive situation, ABC has bought drama pitch Hangtown, from Battlestar Galactica developer/executive producer Ron Moore and Caprica writer Matt Roberts. Sony Pictures TV, where Moore is under an overall deal, is producing. Described as a Western with a procedural overlay, Hangtown is set in the early 1900s in a frontier town that’s begun rapidly expanding with the coming of the railroad. It centers on three characters: the Marshal, a Matt Dillon/Clint Eastwood type who prefers to solve crimes by his instinct; a young doctor from the East Coast who is interested in using the new field of forensics to solve crimes; and a young woman writer who is trying to sell dime novels to the publishing houses in New York about crime in the Wild West. Every week the instincts of the Marshal, the science of the doctor, and the young woman’s drive to tell a rousing good yarn to her editors combine to solve crimes in a wide-open, lawless town. This is the second drama Western project ABC has bought this development season, along with David Zabel’s Gunslinger, from ABC Studios. Additionally, TNT recently gave a cast-contingent pilot order to Bruce C. McKenna and Danny Cannon’s Gateway, set in the 1880s. Also interested in Hangtown was NBC, which ordered Western Reconstruction to pilot last season. Starting the current TV renaissance of the genre was AMC, which has the 1860s series Hell on Wheels coming up. Last season, CAA-repped Moore had fantasy/cop drama pilot 17th Precinct in contention on NBC.
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