EXCLUSIVE: In his first TV series project since Lost, Damon Lindelof is heading to HBO for The Leftovers, a drama based on Tom Perrotta’s 2011 book, which the two will co-write together. This marks the first foray into cable for the Lost executive producer/co-showrunner and the first project under the rich three-year overall deal he recently signed with Warner Bros TV. Tom Perrotta LeftoversDamon Lindelof LeftoversThe Leftovers, produced by HBO in association with WBTV, takes place after the Rapture happens but not quite like it’s supposed to. It is the story of the people who didn’t make the cut… and a world that will never be the same. Lindelof and Perrotta will co-write the script and executive produce the project, now in development, with Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger. If The Leftovers moves forward, Lindelof will serve as the showrunner.

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Leftovers HBO SeriesHBO acquired rights to The Leftovers for series development with Perrotta attached as writer/executive producer and Yerza and Berger as executive producers in August 2011, shortly before the book came out. Lindelof read the novel that fall and word is he immediately fell in love with it. He tracked the rights down to HBO, which is a network he, like many writers, had been looking to work at. Once Lindelof’s deal at ABC Studios expired, he met with Perrotta. The two hit it off and began discussing what a potential Leftovers series would look like. The two are expected to start writing the script towards the end of summer after Lindelof completes his feature commitments. CAA-repped Lindelof recently co-wrote Prometheus and Abrams’ Star Trek Sequel. He just finished his script 1952 for Disney and is doing a rewrite on World War Z. 

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Working in a partnership has worked out well for Lindelof before — he co-created his first series, Emmy-winning hit Lost, with J.J. Abrams. Branching out into cable after a dozen years in broadcast has been a priority for Lindelof and was a factor in his decision to set up shop at WBTV, which has strong cable business. Addressing the type of shows he wants to tackle when he was closing the deal with WBTV, Lindelof said, “What I love about television is character-based storytelling, and I want to continue to explore fantastical way of doing it where characters live in a world that is a little skewed.” But he was quick to point out that “I won’t be the one that would come up with the next Lost,” adding that he has no interest in doing more shows with “wackadoo mythology.” Perrotta shared with Todd Field an Oscar nomination for adapting his novel Little Children. Another Perrotta book that has received a feature treatment was Election.