EXCLUSIVE: It is an L Word reunion on ABC‘s Romeo & Juliet-esque drama pilot Venice. The Showtime series’ star Jennifer Beals has signed on for a lead, while creator/executive producer Ilene Chaiken has come on board as executive producer/showrunner. Written by Byron Balasco, Venice, from Warner Bros TV and McG’s Wonderland Sound And Vision, is a soap about the haves and the have-nots of California’s most seductive city, Venice. It focuses on two rival families and a forbidden and dangerous romance emerging between them as the families battle for control of Venice. Beals, repped by APA and Greenlight Management, will play Lisa Carver, the elegant bohemian matriarch of the Carver family, one of the two feuding clans. McG is directing the pilot, which he, WME-repped Chaiken and Belasco executive produce with Peter Johnson.
EXCLUSIVE: Dick Wolf’s Universal TV-based production company is having an active development season under new scripted development executive Danielle Gelber. Last month, NBC bought a firefighter drama from feature writers Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. Now I’ve learned that Wolf Films has set up two more hourlong projects at NBC — one from The L Word creator Ilene Chaiken and one from former Smallville executive producers Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer — that put a twist on two classic franchises, medical and cop dramas. In addition to the writers, each show is executive produced by Wolf, Wolf Films president Peter Jankowski and Gelber. The untitled Chaiken project centers on a lesbian couple who are doctors at an inner-city Philadelphia hospital. The Slavkin/Swimmer project is a high-tech character-driven procedural about investigators who go into the memory banks of murder victims in order to solve the crimes.