In one of MTV‘s most ambitious moves on the scripted side since Susanne Daniels became president, the network has given a script-to-series commitment to Shannara, a drama series based on Terry Brooks’ popular fantasy books. The project, from Sonar Entertainment and Farah Films, has Iron Man helmer Jon Favreau on board to direct and will be written by Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar. The trio will executive produce with Brooks and Dan Farah (The Crow remake). If MTV likes the script, it is expected to give the project a straight-to-series order. Shannara reunites Gough and Millar with Daniels, who developed and put Smallville on the air while she was entertainment president at the WB. “I am thrilled to be working with the Smallville creators Al and Miles again along with the amazingly talented Jon Favreau,” Daniels said. “We feel that the Shannara novels are a perfect fit for MTV as this type of fantasy genre has continuously proved to resonate with our audience.” Shannara is set in our world, thousands of years after the destruction of our civilization. The story is centered on the Shannara family, whose descendants are empowered with ancient magic and whose adventures continuously reshape the future of the world. The first season of the potential series will be based on The Elfstones Of Shannara, the second title in the series — a fan favorite accredited with cementing the series place in the fantasy world. The book series features plenty of young-adult adventure and romance to suite MTV’s target demographic. Shannara also would be compatible with MTV’s only successful drama series so far, Teen Wolf, which also has supernatural elements.
MTV Nabs Series Adaptation Of ‘Shannara’ Fantasy Novels With Jon Favreau Directing, Al Gough & Miles Millar Writing
Smallville creators Alfred Gough and Miles Millar are in final negotiations to write The Machine, the Vin Diesel-starring action comedy that is also the first new production for the restructured MGM. Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant wrote the original script, about a human-like machine created in secrecy by the Pentagon to be the world’s first ultimate weapon. After the machine was decommissioned and buried it is discovered, reactivated and befriended by a kid 20 years later. When the government learns that it’s back in operation, the machine’s mission becomes to protect the family harboring him. Diesel, who also is producing via his One Race Films, was set to star when the project was unveiled in May 2011. The hope is to create a franchise.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
At this summer’s TCA, across the networks, there has been more than one panel including earnest, beautiful young women, mostly clad in teeny-tiny skirts and architecturally challenging platform heels, talking about how retro shows about gaggles of “girls” answering primarily to male bosses are actually all about female empowerment. Network execs and show producers also seem to be repeating the girl-power mantra. The main cases in point: NBC’s set-in-the-’60s The Playboy Club, ABC’s new Pan Am and the remake of the 1976-81 series Charlie’s Angels, co-executive produced by Leonard Goldberg with Drew Barrymore (veteran of the Charlie’s Angels movies) and creators/executive producers Al Gough and Miles Millar (both of Smallville). The show was unveiled at last month’s Comic-Con with the phrase: “These ain’t your mama’s angels.”
Following this morning’s Charlie’s Angels panel, I asked Millar the empowerment question: Really? He at first seemed to be addressing the issue by saying that initially, Gough’s and Miller’s wives didn’t want them to do the show. Why? Because the original angels were such role models to the producers’ spouses, Millar said reverently. “They didn’t believe we could do it [and maintain] the legacy of Charlie’s Angels.” Millar said during the panel that the idea of the new series was not to make “a cynical remake” of the original, nor to assume the same tone as the movies, about which Gough said: “[They were] superheroes for girls, post-Matrix … [the new show will] bring to the table more grounded, more real” characters with somewhat dark back stories. “You want to have something to come back to every week.” Describing the tone of the new show, Gough said: “If Jack Bauer and Carrie Bradshaw had a love child, it would be [the new] Charlie’s Angels.”
EXCLUSIVE: After a year in development, ABC’s Charlie’s Angels reboot is headed to pilot production. The Sony TV-produced project was originally set up at ABC with a pilot commitment last November with Josh Friedman as a writer. It didn’t go to pilot stage and, after the upfronts, it was put in redevelopment with new writers, Smallville creators/executive producers Al Gough and Miles Millar. Back then, it was one of 5 projects put on fast-track development under previous ABC president Steve McPherson. After McPherson’s successor Paul Lee took over in August, there has been chatter that he liked Gough and Millar’s script. Top casting director John Papsidera recently was quietly tapped to start some exploratory search for the leads. The project just released an official breakdown and I hear it has locked in Miami as location for the shoot, eyed for January. Gough and Millar are executive producing with Leonard Goldberg, executive producer of the original series, Drew Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen. The three also produced the two Charlie’s Angels movies that starred Barrymore. So far, Charlie’s Angels has followed closely the successful reboot of another popcorn 1970s series, Hawaii Five-0, which also went through two cycles of development until its second script by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Peter Lenkov was picked up to pilot. It went on to become a series, which was recently picked up for a full season. Now let the guessing begin who the new TV angels …