Arms Dealing Drama ‘Runner’ Gets Fox Cast-Contingent Pilot Order

Fox has given an off-cycle cast-contingent pilot order to drama, Runner, from Sander/Moses Prods., Peter Horton and 20th Century Fox TV. Based on the Turkish series Son, Runner is to guns what Traffic was to drugs and delves into the traditionally masculine world of arms dealing through the unexpected lens of a woman. It centers on Lauren Marks who, after a simple twist of fate, learns that her husband is not the person she believed him to be. Faced with the harsh reality that her life is forever changed, she goes on a truth-seeking journey that entrenches her in a U.S./Mexican war over weapons and terrorism. Feature writer Michael Cooney (Identity) wrote the pilot script, with Horton directing as well as exec producing alongside Ian Sander and Kim Moses. Jon Cowan (Suits) executive produces and serves as showrunner.

Back in January, under Fox’s then-new development model, Runner received what the network called “an off-cycle commitment for further investment towards series production” in the summer. That meant backup scripts, hiring writers and writing a bible with an eye towards a straight to series pickup. In an interview with Deadline this week, Dana Walden, who, along with her 20th TV partner Gary Newman recently added oversight of Fox, said the two of them “believe that straight-to-series is not a one-size-fits-all business.” “We liked what the network was trying to achieve last year in terms of having more information about a series, trying to get creators do what they do more regularly in cable — write backup scripts, create a bible, focus on characters, give them greater specificity because you know more about the direction they are moving in in future scripts,” she said.

Runner marked the first scripted Turkish format set up at a network by American producers when it was sold to Fox last October. It’s been a big week for the Balkan country, with another drama based on a Turkish series, Game Of Silence, sparking a bidding war and landing at NBC with a pilot production commitment and a series penalty. Over the past year, Turkey has emerged as a new hot format destination on both the scripted and unscripted side  — CBS last season gave a pilot order to the Nigel Lythgoe-produced competition reality series In The Spotlight, based on a Turkish paper format.

Horton has another Traffic-esque project, midseason NBC series Odyssey, while Sander and Moses exec produced CBS’ summer drama series Reckless. Cowan is with UTA, the Shuman Co. and Bob Myman.

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