Exactly a year after FX landed the spec for Tyrant in a competitive situation, the cable network has given the drama project from Homeland co-creators Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff and Six Feet Under alum Craig Wright a series order for a minimum of 10 episodes to debut next summer. The series pickup for Tyrant comes on the heels of FX’s series order to Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse’s The Strain. Along with American Horror Story a couple of years ago, Tyrant and The Strain were the only projects to land FX pilot orders off a pitch/spec. All three had such big commitments that a series order was all but certain and all three had received orders for backup scripts in anticipation of a series pickup. Tyrant, produced by Fox 21 and FX Prods., was the riskiest of the three with its Middle Eastern setting. It did hit several bumps along the way — original director Ang Lee exited, with David Yates stepping in. There were questions about where the series would be filmed (It will be shot in Tel Aviv after the pilot was done in Morocco.) I hear FX brass had reservations about the first cut of the pilot but loved the final one. “With Tyrant, Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff and Craig Wright have produced a beautiful television pilot that will be a groundbreaking television series,” said FX Networks CEO John Landgraf. “Tyrant introduces characters and a world that have never been explored in a dramatic television series format. There is a reason a bidding war broke out over this project: it grabs you as all great epics do and simply refuses to let go!” Added 20th TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman, “This is one of the most ambitious series we’ve ever set out to make and we couldn’t be more grateful to John and everyone at FX who believed in its potential since the very first pitch.”
FX has given a pilot order to Tyrant, a drama from Homeland executive producers Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff, Six Feet Under alum Craig Wright and 20th Century Fox TV’s Fox 21. Tyrant, casually referred to as “reverse Homeland“, was created by Raff, creator of the Israeli drama Prisoners Of War on which Showtime’s Homeland was based. Tyrant, developed by Gordon and Wright, tells the story of an unassuming American family drawn into the workings of a turbulent Middle Eastern nation. Raff wrote the pilot script, which hails from Teakwood Lane, Gordon’s 20th TV-based production company. “The brilliant and wholly original concept just blew us all away,” FX’s EVP Nick Grad said. “It’s pretty amazing when you read a script and can instantly imagine it becoming one of the best shows on television.”
Gordon, Raff and Wright are executive producing in association with Keshet Broadcasting, the Israeli company behind Prisoners Of War, which also co-produces Homeland. Wright is set to serve as showrunner if Tyrant goes to series. For Wright, the project stems from the overall deal he inked with Fox 21 in August. Production on the pilot is tentatively slated to begin in spring 2013.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
At today’s TCA, Craig Wright, creator and executive producer of MTV’s new one-hour scripted drama/comedy series Underemployed (premiere date TBA) was asked about obvious parallels between this show and HBO’s Emmy-nominated Girls.
Actually, the title Girls or the name of creator Lena Dunham was never specifically mentioned, but a questioner asked about “an HBO show” whose creator scoffs at the idea of being the “voice of a generation.” Does Wright, in his late 40s, see himself as the voice of the millennials?
EXCLUSIVE: Peter Berg and Sarah Aubrey’s Film 44 is becoming a key player in NBC’s development plans for next season with 3 high-profile projects. Last week, the company took over NBC’ drama pilot Prime Suspect. Now I hear Berg and Aubrey are also coming on board NBC’ other big reboot, …