FOX is getting into the "long-form event series" business, announcing on Tuesday (January 8) that it has begun development on projects from M. Night Shyamalan
and Bruce C. McKenna.
Shyamalan is behind "Wayward Pines
," which comes from the novel "Pines" by Blake Crouch. Chad Hodge wrote the first draft of the project, which focuses on a Secret Service agent who travels to an Idaho town to investigate the disappearance of two agents, but discovers something is fishy in "Wayward Pines." FOX describes the project as "an intense, mind-bending thriller evocative of the classic cult hit 'Twin Peaks.'"
McKenna will write "Blood Brothers
," which focuses on the West Point Class of 1861. As you may be able to guess, that class was torn apart by a war that transformed brothers into mortal enemies on battlefields around the nation. In addition to McKenna ("Band of Brothers," "The Pacific"), "Blood Brothers" will be executive produced with Timothy Scott Bogart and Gary Randall.
FOX hopes to order its first event series pilot or pilots later this year and the network hopes to premiere its first long-form event series in 2014.
Entertainment Chairman Kevin Reilly blurbs on the motive, "With top-notch auspices and feature-quality production plans, 'Wayward Pines' and 'Blood Brothers' represent exactly the kind of high-impact, 10- to 12-part events we set out to develop when we entered the limited series business. These two series are the first of many big ideas, big names and big talent that you can anticipate will be on our air in the next 12-24 months."
Don't these projects sound a lot like what networks used to call "miniseries"? Well, yes.
"We're not calling them miniseries because miniseries got a negative connotation, kind of thought of as fodder and cut-rate fare," Reilly told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour. "If anything, we're going to try to emulate the HBO model, which is high-end talent, big in scope, epic productions, which probably will have movie stars and top notch talent — people who want to do television but are not going to sign on for five years."
Stay tuned for more details.