EXCLUSIVE UPDATED: So far, Reliance has been known in Hollywood for its film investments, primarily as financier of Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studios. Now the Indian media giant is venturing into American television, backing a new 10-episode pirate series for NBC eyed for a March premiere, which will likely be announced at the network’s upfront presentation Monday. I’ve learned that NBC is finalizing a deal for a straight-to-series order to the period drama, which will be produced by Georgeville Television, an independent TV studio formed recently by producer and former Heyday Films executive Marc Rosen (Harry Potter), and Motion Picture Capital, the finance arm of Reliance Entertainment. GVTV, which has operated quietly for the past three months, has the capability to fully-finance major network and cable scripted series, with Republic Of Pirates being its first project.
Luther creator Neil Cross is nearing a deal to write the project and executive produce it with Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald. The drama was originally set up at NBC last June under Parkes/MacDonald Prods’ first-look deal with the network. It became the first drama buy for then-new NBC chief Bob Greenblatt and his team last summer, with Jim Hart and Amanda Wells brought in to write it. Cross will now write the project under his recently inked overall deal with Universal TV. The series is based on the book The Republic Of Pirates by Colin Woodard. Set during the 10-year “Golden Age of Piracy” from 1715 to 1725, it follows some of the world’s most notorious pirates as they forge their own rogue nation, called New Providence, which became the first democracy in the Americas. (more…)