EXCLUSIVE: Famous prohibition agent Eliot Ness wasn’t even 30 years old when hit the pinnacle in his career by taking down Al Capone with his law enforcement team dubbed The Untouchables. The following two decades of his life are the subject of Ness, a drama series in development at WGN America from The Blacklist duo of Sony Pictures TV and Davis Entertainment. The project is based on Douglas Perry’s biography Eliot Ness: The Rise And Fall Of An American Hero, which is being published next week. The adaptation will be written by renowned crime novelist Dennis Lehane (Shutter Island; Mystic River; Gone, Baby, Gone), with Sony TV-based Michael Dinner (Justified) set to direct. The two are executive producing with Davis Entertainment’s John Davis and John Fox.
Ness’ 1929-31 heroics going after crime boss Capone in Chicago were chronicled in the 1959 ABC drama series The Untouchables starring Robert Stack as Ness and Brian De Palma’s Oscar-winning movie of the same name toplined by Kevin Costner. Ness will follow is the real (and untold) story of Ness post-Untouchables when he became the top cop in Cleveland, the most dangerous city in America during the 1930s. He spent the next decade fighting the mob, his own corrupt police department, and a serial killer on the streets. All while battling his alcoholism, serial philandering and the constant need for acclaim. (Ness was broke and an alcoholic when he died from a massive heart attack at 55 in 1957). Coincidentally, Sony TV is developing another project about Ness’ years in Cleveland on the longform side. Nemesis, an eight-hour miniseries for NBC, zeroes in on Ness’ hunt for the so-called Torso Killer, billed as America’s first serial killer. The mini is based on different source material, the book Nemesis: The Final Case Of Eliot Ness by William Bernhardt, with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron executive producing. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: It looks like Fox brass are determined to get an aircraft carrier drama on the air. Last season, the network put in development The Bridge, from writer Taylor Elmore (Justified), producer Mark Johnson and Sony Pictures TV. The project, described as a high-octane soap with a touch of Upstairs, Downstairs set on a Navy aircraft carrier, didn’t go to pilot but the network kept it in contention, rolling in to this season. Now Justified executive producers Graham Yost and Michael Dinner have boarded the drama to help with the rewrite, giving it additional clout. Both will executive produce, with Dinner also attached to direct. Elmore is still the writer, with Johnson and his Gran Via still attached, along with Sony TV.
Meanwhile, in August, Fox bought another drama from high-profile auspices with a similar setting, giving a script commitment with penalty to a project from House executive producers Russel Friend & Garrett Lerner and 20th Century Fox TV. Set on a naval aircraft carrier, the untitled show also has an upstairs/downstairs dynamic: the “downstairs” is filled with 18- to 20-year-olds, their coming-of-age stories heightened by the life-and-death nature of their everyday jobs; the “upstairs” is anchored by a female fighter pilot and her season-long quest to solve a murder that occurs onboard. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Director-producer Michael Dinner has inked a new two-year overall deal with Sony Pictures Television. He has been under overall pacts at Sony TV since 2005, developing and directing pilots for network and cable. Dinner executive … Read More »
FX’s pilot Outlaw Country is undergoing a retooling. The original script, written by Josh Goldin and Rachel Abramowitz, has been given a rewrite by Goldin, Abramowitz and Outlaw Country‘s executive producer/co-showrunner David Manson. There will be substantial reshoots, which … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE (UPDATED BELOW): There’s been no announcement yet. But Ann Blanchard is already being accused of breaking Hollywood protocol by not first informing those agents repping her Mosaic Media Group’s TV management clients of her change of employment. Instead, she’s calling … Read More »
After lengthy development, FX has handed a pilot order to Powers, a drama based on the graphic novel by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming. The project, written by Charles H. Eglee and to be directed by Michael Dinner, is … Read More »
Writer Jason Smilovic has set up a drama project at Fox. The project, titled The Detail, landed a script commitment with penalty after interest from multiple networks. It is executive produced by Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, with Michael Dinner on board to direct. Produced by Sony TV, it is described as Ocean’s Eleven meets Revenge of the Nerds. It centers on a private detective, who, after being released from jail for a crime he didn’t commit, assembles a group of rejects, each with a unique talent, to form a detective agency and bring down his old business partner who framed him. Read More »