Disney-owned ABC is developing a mini-series based on the novel that inspired â€œWicked,â€ the hit Broadway musical, at the same time that Disney itself is developing another â€œWizard of Ozâ€-informed full-length film. But ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee doesnâ€™t think of the projects as competing. In fact, he looks at the intertwining of the two as â€œa good thing for us.â€
Lee told HitFix at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena that a â€œhigh-profile limited seriesâ€ of â€œWicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the Westâ€ is still only in the development stages, with no script ready to read. However, he does see it fit within the ABC brand.
â€œ[The mini-series] is a sort of fabulous idea and it goes back to the book more than the musical, so it's epic, it's romantic and it's very much within our brand,â€ he said. â€œWe've got a great writer on it. Look, we're at the development stage. I don't know if we're going to get there, but the notion of having it resonate elsewhere in the company is a good thing for us.â€
is reporting that â€œUgly Betty
â€ producer/actress Selma Hayek
has teamed with ABC to get the series moving, with â€œBand of Brothersâ€ writer Erik Jendresen penning a script.
Walt Disney, in the meantime, is putting the pieces together for â€œOz: The Great and Powerful,â€ with Robert Downey, Jr., on deck to play the wonderful wizard. As we said in October
, â€œSpider-Manâ€ director Sam Raimi
will be directing. The movie would be a prequel to the 1939 classic â€œWizard of Ozâ€ while the alleged â€œWickedâ€ bestseller and mini-series acts as a story told parallel to the original â€œOz.â€
Disney/ABC owns the rights to the book â€œWickedâ€ while Universal Pictures has the rights to the musical. And, as previously reported
, Universal has been waiting to begin shooting a big-screen adaptation of the Broadway musical, to avoid interfering with the success of the stage version but also to release it while consumersâ€™ interest in the story and the music is at a peak. â€œGleeâ€ creator Ryan Murphy
is currently in the running
to direct the flick. Fitting.
What does that mean for consumers? A whole lot of â€œOzâ€ action may be headed their way. Universal likely doesnâ€™t want their â€œWickedâ€ screen music to be undercut by a mini-series, so consider that fire lit. ABC is enthusiastic about the synergy, so that may drop at the same time. And Warner Bros. is still weighing a remake of the original, based on the books by Frank L. Baum (now public domain).
What do you think? Is there such a thing as too much â€œWickedâ€ and â€œOz?â€ Will these films and series ideas cancel each other out?