Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In what would be his first major series gig, Ethan Hawke is in talks to star in  the Fox drama project Exit Strategy. In addition to starring, Hawke would also serve as producer on the show, which hails from 20th Century Fox TV and Kurtzman and Orci’s 20th TV-based K.O. Paper Products. Exit Strategy, which is being written by David Guggenheim (Safe House), was originally set up at Fox in September with a put pilot commitment. With Hawke on board, the project would likely be ordered to pilot after the network receives the script at the end of the month, with A-list directors already circling it. Described as a high octane procedural, Exit Strategy centers on a team of 5 experts associated with the CIA who are deployed when a CIA operation goes bad to extract the ones involved before it’s too late. Hawke would play the team leader, the architect of exit strategy who also empathizes with the people they extract and would rather die than let them get hurt. Each episode would tackle a different crisis in a different country. Exit Strategy is envisioned as a potential successor to Fox’s signature drama 24. Like 24, the action in Exit Strategy would also unfold in real-time. And like 24′s Kiefer Sutherland, Hawke would segue from the feature world to take on the lead in Exit Strategy, his first series. Kurtzman, Orci and KOPP’s Heather Kadin are executive producing the project, with Guggenheim co-executive producing.

Hawke’s only previous series appearance was in an episode of J.J. Abrams’ ABC series Alias, in which he also payed a CIA agent. The Oscar and Tony nominated actor-writer-director recently directed the well received off-Broadway revival of Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind for the New Group, just wrapped the feature The Woman in the Fifth and will be seen on stage in the New Group’s Blood From a Stone, with previews tonight in advance of the January 6 opening night. He is with CAA. Kurtzman and Orci, co-creators/executive producers of two series, Fox’s Fringe and CBS’ Hawaii Five-0, have already received one pilot order this season, for Fox’s Locke & Key, which is casting. On the feature side, the two most recently co-wrote and are producing the upcoming Cowboys & Aliens, and Kurtzman is set to start directing Welcome to People, which he and Orci co-wrote, in January.

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.