Outlander, Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling fantasy/romance/adventure series of books, is slowly inching to the screen. No greenlight from Starz yet, but I’ve learned that the project has opened a writers room, with Battlestar Galactica developer Ron Moore, who is spearheading the drama series adaptation, hiring four scribes to work with him. The move indicates that Starz is contemplating a potential straight-to-series order for Outlander, a route the pay cable network has taken with most of its original series. Joining Moore on Outlander are two writers who have worked with him before — Battlestar alumna Toni Graphia and Caprica‘s Matt Roberts — along with veteran showruner Ira Behr (Alphas, The 4400) and Anne Kenney (LA Law, Switched At Birth).
EXCLUSIVE: Starz has closed a deal to develop Outlander, a drama series based on Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling fantasy/romance/adventure series of books. Battlestar Galactica developer/executive producer Ron Moore will write the series adaptation, with Jim Kohlberg’s Story Mining and Supply Co producing. Sony Pictures TV is behind the project after acquiring rights to the books in the summer and attaching Moore, who is under an overall deal at the studio, to develop and write a series targeted for cable networks.
Outlander spans the genres of romance, science fiction, history, and adventure. It follows Claire, a married WWII combat nurse, who mistakenly steps back in time to year 1743 where she is immediately thrown into an unknown world of adventure that sends her on the run and threatens her life. When Claire is forced to marry Jamie, a chivalrous and romantic young Scottish warrior, it ignites a passionate affair that tears Claire’s heart between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.
Outlander is the latest Starz drama project set centuries in the past, along with hit Spartacus and the upcoming Da Vinci’s Demons, Black Sails, Marco Polo and The White Queen.
EXCLUSIVE: A Knight’s Tale, the 2001 feature starring Heath Ledger, is headed to the small screen in a series adaptation written by Battlestar Galactica developer/executive producer Ron Moore. ABC has bought the project, from Sony Pictures TV, with a script commitment.
The Knight’s Tale feature was a 14th century romantic adventure set in the world of jousting to a music score of popular rock songs that centered on William Thatcher (Ledger), a peasant posing as a knight. (See the original tralier below.) The series is expected to stay close to the premise and the style of the movie — it is described as a medieval fantasy incorporating modern music and themes that follows the journey of a young man who starts out impersonating a knight of the realm and ends up becoming one. In addition to writing, Moore is executive producing with his producing partner at Tall Ship Prods. Maril Davis as well as the film’s writer-director-producer Brian Helgeland and producer Todd Black. The title is part of the Sony library as the movie, which featured Ledger in his first lead role, was produced by Columbia Pictures. It was a worldwide box office success, turning the 22-year-old actor into a movie star.
EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures TV has closed a deal for the rights to Outlander, Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling fantasy/romance/adventure series of books. Battlestar Galactica developer/executive producer Ron Moore will write the series adaptation, with Jim Kohlberg’s Story Mining and Supply Co producing. The project will be taken to cable networks this week.
The book series starts off in 1945 and follows Claire, a married WWII combat nurse who accidentally steps back in time to the Scottish Highlands of 1743. Catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that send her on the run and threaten her life she is forced to marry Jamie, a gallant and passionate young Scots warrior, igniting a passionate love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire… and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives. The seven-book series has sold over 20 million copies. An eighth novel is slated to come out next year. The books have developed passionate fan following, with multiple companies running “Jamie and Claire” tours of Scotland, where they visit locations from the books.
EXCLUSIVE: The Western genre continues to be hot at the TV networks. In a competitive situation, ABC has bought drama pitch Hangtown, from Battlestar Galactica developer/executive producer Ron Moore and Caprica writer Matt Roberts. Sony Pictures TV, where Moore is under an overall deal, is producing. Described as a Western with a procedural overlay, Hangtown is set in the early 1900s in a frontier town that’s begun rapidly expanding with the coming of the railroad. It centers on three characters: the Marshal, a Matt Dillon/Clint Eastwood type who prefers to solve crimes by his instinct; a young doctor from the East Coast who is interested in using the new field of forensics to solve crimes; and a young woman writer who is trying to sell dime novels to the publishing houses in New York about crime in the Wild West. Every week the instincts of the Marshal, the science of the doctor, and the young woman’s drive to tell a rousing good yarn to her editors combine to solve crimes in a wide-open, lawless town. This is the second drama Western project ABC has bought this development season, along with David Zabel’s Gunslinger, from ABC Studios.
EXCLUSIVE: In one of the highest-profile reboots this season, CBS is looking to revive the 1960s action-adventure Western The Wild Wild West with former CSI executive producer/co-showrunner Naren Shankar and Battlestar Galactica developer/executive producer Ron Moore. The network is negotiating a deal for the project, which will be co-produced by CBS TV Studios, where Shankar is based with an overall deal, and Sony Pictures TV, where Moore is under an overall deal. The project originated at CBS TV Studios, which has the rights to the original series that ran on CBS from 1965-1969. (My new colleague Michael Ausiello broke the original story about the project when he was at EW and helped with this one too.)