Neil Cross Crossbones NBCUPDATE, 1:15 PM: NBC said production will begin in the fall on Crossbones, which features “an unexpected moral center where one can’t be sure whether the pirates or the British crown are the villains,” the network says. It will center on Tom Lowe, an undercover assassin who is sent to the pirates’ haven to take down the brilliant and charismatic Blackbeard. But the closer Lowe gets, the more he can’t help but admire the political ideals of of the pirate, whose thirst for knowledge knows no bounds and no law. Blackbeard is a man with many villainous rivals and one great weakness — a passionately driven woman whom he cannot deny. Ted Gold is executive producing with Cross, Parkes and MacDonald and Universal Television is among the production companies.

Related: Reliance Starts U.S. TV Production Company, Nears Series Order At NBC For Pirate Drama

PREVIOUS, 9:35 AM: As we predicted last week, NBC today announced a 10-episode pirate drama series written by Luther creator Neil Cross and produced by feature producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, who have a first-look deal with the network. The project, titled Crossbones, hails from Georgeville Television, an independent TV studio formed recently by producer and former Heyday Films executive Marc Rosen (Harry Potter), and Motion Picture Capital, the finance arm of Reliance Entertainment. The series is based on the book The Republic Of Pirates by Colin Woodard. Set during the 10-year “Golden Age of Piracy” from 1715 to 1725, it centers on legendary English pirate Blackbeard, following him and some of the world’s most notorious pirates as they forge their own rogue nation, called New Providence, which became the first democracy in the Americas.