EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Network has given a pilot order to 68 Whiskey (working title), an adaptation of Israeli TV series Charlie Golf One, from Imagine Television Studios, the TV arm of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment, and CBS TV Studios.
Directed by Oscar winner Howard and written by The Brink co-creator Roberto Benabib, the adaptation follows a multicultural mix of men and women deployed as Army medics to a forward operating base in Afghanistan nicknamed “The Orphanage.” Together, they endure a dangerous and Kafkaesque world that leads to self-destructive appetites, outrageous behavior, intense camaraderie and occasionally, a profound sense of purpose.
This marks a rare pilot directing stint for Solo helmer Howard who will executive produce with Grazer and Imagine Television Group Chairman Francie Calfo (Empire, Genius), along with Weeds alum Benabib. Zion Rubin, the creator of the Israeli series, will also executive produce along with Efrat Shmaya Dror from the United Studios of Israel and Danna Stern from yes Studios.
68 Whiskey was developed under the co-financing first-look deal between Imagine Television Studios and CBS the companies closed last year.
The pilot order comes on the heels of Paramount Network’s 10-episode series order for First Wives Club reboot, with Tracy Oliver (Girls’ Trip) writing and directing, for premiere next year. While the Viacom network, coming off the ratings record-setting launch of the Kevin Costner starrer Yellowstone, has been focused primarily on straight-to-series orders, its executives had stressed that they were also open to the pilot development model.
Charlie Golf One is produced by United Studios of Israel and yes TV, the production company behind the Netflix hit format, Fauda. It was the yes platform’s most successful original program of 2016 and remains wildly popular with a second season currently in production.
Benabib shared in a comedy series Emmy nomination for Weeds, on which he served as writer/executive producer. He co-created, wrote and executive produced The Brink, with his brother Kim Benabib, and currently is a writer and executive producer on Showtime’s Jim Carrey series Kidding.
Imagine TV’s series slate includes Fox’s Empire, Netflix’s Arrested Development, and NatGeo’s Genius, Mars and Breakthrough series.
68 Whiskey is part of CBS TV Studios’ expansion into the cable/streaming space where the studios’ portfolio includes Star Trek: Discovery, The Good Fight, Twilight Zone, $1 and Strange Angel for CBS All Access; Carpool Karaoke for Apple Music, Drop the Mic for TBS; Insatiable, Unbelievable and Dead to Me for Netflix; comedy anthology series The Guest Book for TBS; and Our Cartoon President and Your Honor for Showtime.
This is not the first collaboration between CBS TV Studios and Paramount Network as the two companies continue to work together during the corporate drama between their parent companies CBS and Viacom.