Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, True Detective, an eight-part event drama series project starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, has landed at HBO with a straight-to-series order. I hear the pay cable network is finalizing a deal for an eight-episode order to the high-concept cop drama written on spec by Nic Pizzolatto, with Cary Fukunaga (Jane Eyre) on board to direct all episodes.

True Detective, which sparked heated bidding after it was taken out to the top cable networks earlier this month, is descried as an elevated serial narrative with multiple perspectives and time frames. It centers on two detectives, Rust Cohle (McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Harrelson), whose lives collide and entwine during a seventeen-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana. The investigation of a bizarre murder in 1995 is framed and interlaced with testimony from the detectives in 2012, when the case has been reopened. The concept is for the 8-episode first season to resolve the mystery at hand, with subsequent seasons using same structure but new characters and story. True Detective is gearing up to start production right away. It is ready to do so with director and stars already on board as well as two written episodes and a bible, which were part of the project’s pitch. Anonymous Content, which manages Pizzolatto and Fukunaga, developed True Detective in-house and will be producing the series for HBO. Anonymous president Paul Green negotiated the deal with the pay cable network, with the company’s Richard Brown and Steve Golin executive producing alongside Pizzolatto and Fukunaga and Bard Dorros also set to serve in some producing capacity. As part of the pickup of True Detective, HBO also has signed a development deal with Pizzolatto for other projects.

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This is the second pickup of a hot spec project by HBO. The network’s sister network Cinemax recently gave a pilot order to Hurt People, GK-tv’s drama project starring and executive produced by William Petersen. This is the first TV collaboration for best friends McConaughey and Harrelson who have done two features together, Edtv and Surfer, Dude. For McConaughey, this marks the first regular TV series gig, for Harrelson, it marks a return to the medium where he became a household name as one of the stars of Cheers. True Detective reunites HBO with McConaughey and Harrelson who both appeared on HBO programs recently — McConaughey guest starred on comedy Eastbound & Down, Harrelson starred in the movie Game Change. RWSG Agency-repped Pizzolatto, an award-winning novelist and short-story writer, recently worked on AMC’s The Killing. McConaughey and Harrelson are with CAA, Fukunaga with WME.

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