EXCLUSIVE: In its first U.S. sale, recently launched L.A.-based indie studio Gaumont International Television has set up hourlong drama Hannibal at NBC. Written and executive produced by Bryan Fuller and executive produced by Martha De Laurentiis, the project, based on the iconic literary and film character Hannibal Lecter, was bought by NBC preemptively. It marks a reunion between the network and GIT CEO Katie O’Connell, who previously served as NBC head of drama. Fuller is developing a script against a 13-episode commitment, meaning that the project won’t go through a pilot stage but straight to series if NBC brass like the script. The network has a short window after receiving Fuller’s script to pick it up. In a model similar to that for NBC’s midseason drama series The Firm, GIT, the U.S. arm of French film studio Gaumont, will fund the potential series by a mix of a U.S network license fee and international sales. The project was taken to MIPCOM last month, and a number of international deals are already in the works.
I hear that Fuller, a well-known foodie as evidenced by his previous series Pushing Daisies, loved the dark, sick side of Hannibal, who tends to feast on his victims. (Who can forget the line: “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti”?) De Laurentiis — who has produced the Hannibal Lecter features Hannibal, Red Dragon and Hannibal Rising — and CAA brought the rights to GIT, which opened its doors at the beginning of September. O’Connell brought in Fuller, with whom she had had a long relationship going back to the time she was at NBC and WME-repped Fuller worked on the network’s drama Heroes. (O’Connell also bid on Fuller’s Pushing Daisies, which ultimately went to ABC.)