EXCLUSIVE: NBC won’t be heading for Oz. The network has opted not to proceed with Emerald City, its 10-episode Oz-themed drama series, which had been ordered straight-to-series for next season. The project hails from executive producers Matthew Arnold, who originally conceived the idea and penned the original script, and Josh Friedman, who tweaked the pilot script and has been running the writers room. I hear after several backup scripts had been produced, there was a difference in vision between NBC brass and Friedman about what the show should be, leading to NBC’s decision to not go forward with it. Word is that Universal Television, which developed the project and is producing it, is still high on it and may shop it elsewhere.
Emerald City is described as a modern and dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz in the vein of Game Of Thrones, drawing upon stories from Baum’s original 14 books that include lethal warriors, competing kingdoms, and the infamous wizard as we’ve never seen him before. A head-strong 20-year-old Dorothy Gale is unwittingly sent on an eye-opening journey that thrusts her into the center of an epic and bloody battle for the control of Oz.
Taking on high concepts in a straight-to-series format is a tricky proposition. Fox recently also pulled the plug on its Ancient Egypt action adventure series Hieroglyph after filming a pilot and reading several backup scripts.