In The Heat Of The Night, a present-day drama series based on the Oscar-winning 1967 United Artists feature, is back in development with a new writer.
Joe Robert Cole, writer-producer on FX’s People v. O.J. Simpson, is writing the new series adaptation, which is being developed internally at MGM Television.
MGM TV previously had set up an In the Heat of the Night TV series — described as an exploration of character and race set in modern-day Mississippi – at Showtime in 2014 with The Help filmmaker Tate Taylor writing and directing. Taylor is staying on as a director/executive producer on the new incarnation, along with producer Warren Littlefield (Fargo) who also had been involved in the project from the get-go, and John Norris. Decades ago as an NBC executive, Littlefield developed the movie’s previous TV series adaptation.
The 1967 feature, directed by Norman Jewison, broke ground when it came out as race relations were boiling over in the civil rights era. It starred Sidney Poitier as a police detective sent to investigate a murder in a small Southern town in the face of hostility from the local sheriff, played by Rod Steiger. It won five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Steiger.
2016 was a breakout year for Cole. His first TV writing gig, a job as writer/co-producer on FX’s hit limited series People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, earned him an Emmy writing nomination. That led to a slew of high-profile feature jobs, including serving as a co-writer on the upcoming Marvel superhero tentpole Black Panther, directed by Ryan Coogler. He is repped by CAA and Circle of Confusion.