Fox has given a put pilot commitment to Kung Fu, a present-day sequel to the 1970s David Carradine-starring TV series, from former Sleepy Hollow executive producer Albert Kim, Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Prods. and Warner Bros. TV, where the company is based.
Written by Kim, Kung Fu is an action-driven procedural about a young Chinese-American woman who inherits her father’s kung fu studio, only to discover it’s actually a secret center dedicated to helping members of the Chinatown community who have nowhere else to turn. With the help of a former star pupil — a smart and driven ex-Marine — she vows to continue the school’s mission. In the process, she discovers things she never knew about her cultural background and family’s heritage, including a connection to a legendary ancestor.
That legendary ancestor presumably is Carradine’s character from the original series, Shaolin monk Kwai Chang Caine. The 1970s series, created by Ed Spielman, chronicled the adventures of Caine who travels the American Old West armed only with his spiritual training — including a ton of aphorisms — and his skill in martial arts in search of his half.
Last year, Fox, Berlanti Prods. and WBTV developed a more straight-forward female-lead reboot of the original series with a different writer. The period drama, which did not go to pilot, followed the adventures of Lucy Chang, a Buddhist monk and kung fu master who travels through 1950s America armed only with her spiritual training and her martial arts skills as she searches for the man who stole her child years before.
Because Fox was Kung Fu‘s home last year, I hear the new take was taken to that network first, and Fox brass bought it with a put pilot commitment. Kim executive produces with Berlanti Prods.’ Berlanti and Sarah Schechter.
Kim most served as executive producer/co-showrunner on Fox/20th TV’s Sleepy Hollow, and before that as writer/co-executive producer on the CW/Warner Bros. TV’s Nikita. He also developed at WBTV last season. Kim is repped by ICM Partners and attorney Jeff Frankel.
This is Berlanti Prods.’ fifth drama sale this broadcast pitch season. Kung Fu joins Prodigal Son, which also has a put pilot commitment at Fox. Elsewhere, the company has a pilot production commitment at CBS for The Secret To a Good Marriage, a put pilot at ABC with an untitled Nkechi Carroll project as well as a Batwoman DC adaptation at the CW, which is eyeing a pilot order. Berlanti and Schechter are repped by WME and attorney Patti Felker.
As Fox prepares to go independent following Disney’s acquisition of major Fox assets, including 20th Century Fox TV, the network has been actively buying from indie studio WBTV. Fox takes ownership in all projects it buys from outside studios.