NBC is kicking off the 2012-13 pilot season early with an off-cycle pilot order to The Secret Lives Of Husbands And Wives, an hourlong project from Jerry Bruckheimer Television, writer Sascha Penn and Warner Bros TV. Inspired by Josie Brown’s 2010 novel that takes on life love, marriage, infidelity and friendship in suburban California, the project is described as thriller/dramatic soap that centers on a murder and the secrets and lies within a tightly woven group of three couples and their families exposed in its aftermath. Penn, Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman will executive produce, with KristieAnne Reed co-executive producing. Casting on the pilot is starting now, with filming slated to begin in the fall as part of new NBC topper Bob Greenblatt’s strategy to transition to year-round pilot production. Last year, NBC ordered four off-cycle pilots, one of which, Save Me, was picked up to series for next season.

Secret Lives, which marks the first pilot order for Penn, was originally set up at ABC last season. It was a passion project for Bruckheimer and Littman, so when ABC passed on it, the two sent the script to NBC. NBC brass expressed interest if WBTV was able to secure a release from ABC, and when that happened, NBC gave it a pilot green light. This is the second post-upfronts pilot order at the broadcast networks. ABC just greenlighted a new single-camera pilot for Rebel Wilson’s Super Fun Might, which did a multi-camera for CBS this past season.

Secret Lives reunites Bruckheimer TV with NBC, where the company had a 1980s pro wresting drama executive produced by Dwayne Johnson in development last season with a put pilot commitment. On the feature side, Penn, repped by CAA and Madhouse Entertainment, has spec sci-fi actioner The Ditch set up at Warner Bros and another spec, action/thriller Gone, is being financed with Simon West attached to direct and Pierce Brosnan to produce.