David E. Kelley continues to add to his order book.
It is Kelley’s latest project for the Disney-owned network – Big Sky is currently in its second season – as well as his latest adaptation of Connelly’s work. He has an adaptation of The Lincoln Lawyer at Netflix.
Avalon, which is ABC’s first straight-to-series order for its 2022-23 programming slate, takes place in the city of Avalon on Catalina Island, where L.A. Sheriff’s Department Detective Nicole “Nic” Searcy heads up a small office.
Catalina has a local population that serves more than 1 million tourists a year, and each day when the ferries arrive, hundreds of potential new stories enter the island. Detective Searcy is pulled into a career-defining mystery that will challenge everything she knows about herself and the island.
Avalon was published last year as part of the short story collection When a Stranger Comes to Town.
Kelley, who will write the pilot episode, created the series with Connelly, and the pair will exec produce.
The series is produced by A+E Studios, which produces Kelley’s Big Sky, and 20th Television. Fineman Entertainment’s Ross Fineman, who exec produces Big Sky and The Lincoln Lawyer, will exec produce alongside A+E Studios’ Barry Jossen and Tana Jamieson.
Kelley, who also behind Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers and HBO’s The Undoing, also has a second season of Big Shot at Disney+, Presumed Innocent with J.J. Abrams at Apple, an adaptation of A Man in Full with Regina King and Anatomy of a Scandal for Netflix, Love and Death at HBO Max and The Missing at Peacock.
The straight-to-series order comes as ABC has also been ramping up its traditional development pipeline. Earlier this month, it ordered a drama pilot about a group of therapists in Philadelphia from This Is Us writer-director Kay Oyegun and gave a cast-contingent pilot order to Will Trent, a crime drama based on Karin Slaughter’s bestselling book series, from The Big Leap creator Liz Heldens and Dan Thomsen. It also has two off-cycle drama pilots on the books: the Alaska project, starring Hilary Swank, and the Blair Underwood-fronted L.A. Law sequel.
“Excited to reunite with Michael Connelly,” said Kelley. “He’s written a fantastic short story, a great protagonist. Can’t wait to get started.”
Added Connelly: “Being on a project with David E. Kelley again is amazing. This whole team of David, A+E and Ross Fineman has been wonderful to work with previously; and now joining up with ABC, well, I can’t wait to start. Catalina is full of mystery and good storytelling. We’re going to put it on the screen.”
Said Craig Erwich, president of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment: “David E. Kelley is one of the great storytellers of our time and we are excited to continue our successful relationship with him on what we believe will be his next epic series on ABC. Michael Connelly’s short story is ripe with mystery and intrigue, and we can’t wait for David and Michael to bring this eerie and captivating world to life.”