EXCLUSIVE: Desperate Mob Wives? ABC is eying a drama series for next summer produced by Bob Cooper and Anthony Lapaglia. Titled Beautiful Gangsters, the project, now in development, has FremantleMedia Enterprises on board to handle worldwide distribution outside of North America through Cooper’s first-look deal with the company. And in a rare occasion for a network-level project, the script is written by a young newcomer, recent UCLA Film School graduate Ryan Tavlin. “It’s great to be supporting such a talented young writer as Ryan,” LaPaglia said. “Beautiful Gangsters is a stellar piece of writing, as sophisticated as it is juicy.”

Beautiful Gangsters revolves around three mafia wives who cut a deal with the FBI to enter Witness Protection together in exchange for their testimony, in the hopes of giving their families a second chance at life. The FBI relocates them to a suburban border town in Canada, where they struggle to fit in, struggle to make ends meet … and struggle to resist temptations to take criminal shortcuts. The potential series will be produced by Landscape Entertainment chairman/CEO Cooper’s longtime Canadian production company, Rose Consulting Entertainment, and will be shot in his home country of Canada. Cooper will executive produce with Landscape’s J.J. Jamieson and Anthony LaPaglia’s Last Straw Prods., with Jordan Helman co-executive producing. “As many years as I’ve lived in the States, I’ve never stopped feeling like Canada was actually home,” Cooper said. He began his career in Canada as a TV news investigative reporter. He segued to producing and relocated to the U.S., landing high-profile gigs at DreamWorks Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Artisan Entertainment and HBO Films before he launched Landscape Entertainment in 2004. The company’s TV credits include the NBC series Medical Investigation and the Syfy pilot Three Inches, which the company shot in Toronto. Cooper is currently in discussions with Canadian broadcasters to board Beautiful Gangsters as co-producers for a potential simulcast with ABC in the summer. On the acting side, Aussie LaPaglia recently joined Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Tavlin is with WME and manager Jeff Silver.