4TH UPDATE 6 PM: Also getting a pass is nearly frontrunner and Disney-friendly drama Big Thunder, based on the Disney Parks ride, and dramas Reckless and Doubt. Venice aka Westside is not going forward either. It started off well but was eventually overshadowed by fellow soap …
Melissa George has been tapped for a lead role opposite Janet Montgomery in ABC’s drama pilot Gothica. Set in the present day, the project, created by Matt Lopez and exec produced by Mark Gordon and Nick Pepper of The Mark Gordon Co., weaves together a mythology that incorporates the legends of Dracula, Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein and Dorian Gray. It centers on journalist Grace Van Helsing (Janet Montgomery) who takes over her family’s hometown newspaper. George, repped by ICM Partners, 3 Arts and Smelkinson, will play Fiona Hunter, the series’ most formidable force, and everyone – from Grace, to Dorian (Chris Egan), to Victor Frankenstein (Tom Ellis) – will find their mettle and savvy tested by this deliciously cunning woman. Aussie George recently toplined Frank Spotnitz’s BBC/Cinemax series Hunted. While the series ended when BBC opted not to renew it, Ciinemax and Sportnitz have been plotting two-hour movies centered on George’s character, which has developed strong fan following.
Grey’s Anatomy alumna Chyler Leigh is set to topline NBC’s comedy pilot Holding Patterns, from writer Justin Spitzer, Peter Traugott’s TBD Prods and Universal TV. It is an ensemble multi-camera comedy about a group of friends whose lives completely change after they survive a plane crash. Leigh, repped by UTA and the Burstein Co, plays the sarcastic and free-spirited Leah, who ruins Griffin’s (Humphrey Ker) proposal dinner, and is the unintentional cause of the plane crash.
EXCLUSIVE: Reaper creators Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas have signed an overall deal with ABC Studios. Under the two-year pact, the writing-producing duo is joining the studio’s ABC drama pilot Gothica, co-produced by ABC Studio-based Mark Gordon Co. Butters and Fazekas will serve as executive producers/showrunners, working alongside creator/executive producer Matt Lopez. This marks a reunion for Butters and Fazekas with ABC Studios and the Mark Gordon Co, the companies behind the pair’s cult CW dramedy series Reaper. The gig on Gothica, a gothic soap, also marks Butters and Fazekas’ first full-time genre effort since Reaper. (They did some consulting work on Fox’s Dollhouse and Terra Nova).
Janet Montgomery, one of the breakouts of last pilot season with her starring role in CBS’ Made In Jersey, which helped the project land a series pickup, is set as the lead of another drama pilot, ABC’s …
With young vampires taking big bites out of movie box office and TV ratings in the Twilight franchise, HBO’s True Blood and the CW’s The Vampire Diaries, the granddaddy of them all bloodsuckers, Count Dracula, is making a big comeback. TV history buffs may correct me but, while the legend of Dracula has been mined endlessly on the big screen going back to Bela Lugosi, I cannot think of a single live-action American series about Dracula (NBC’s super-short-lived 1979 series Cliffhangers featured a Curse Of Dracula segment, and the syndicated Dracula: The Series was Canadian). Next fall we may have three.
First off is NBC’s straight-to-series drama Dracula, in pre-production for a possible fall launch. Set in 1890s London, it stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the Count and also features his archenemy, Abraham Van Helsing. At the time NBC’s Dracula was announced last summer, Starz said it is developing Vlad Dracula, a drama series from Spartacus producer Rob Tapert “tracing Dracula’s evolution from a revered ruler to the world’s most feared vampire.”
Last month, Showtime gave a straight-to-series order to John Logan and Sam Mendes’ Penny Dreadful. The drama, also set in Victorian London, features “some of literature’s most famously terrifying characters,” with Dracula and Van Helsing front and center. Two weeks after Showtime’s announcement, ABC gave a pilot order to drama Gothica, from producer Mark Gordon. Like Penny Dreadful, it too weaves together classic horror characters and stories, but in present day. One of the most prominent among them is Dracula, who is the series’ main antagonist. Guillermo Del Toro/Carlton Cuse’s FX pilot The Strain, which will likely go to series, also revolves around vampires.