EXCLUSIVE: In one of its first buys of the season, NBC has gone global with a geopolitical project set at the United Nations. Described as “West Wing in the United Nations,” the drama, which has received a script commitment, follows an interpreter at the international organization’s New York HQ working with ambassadors and politicians from various countries as they deal with political and military crisis around the world. Hell On Wheels’ scribe Tom Brady is writing, Walter Parkes, Laurie MacDonald and Parkes/MacDonald’s Ted Gold executive producing. The project stems from Parkes/MacDonald’s fist-look deal at NBCUniversal, which has yielded one series, the 10-episode Crossbones based on the book The Republic of Pirates. The U.N. has long been a dramatic backdrop for film and TV. Cary Grant was filmed approaching exterior of the actual building in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958’s North By Northwest, though all interior scenes were shot on a soundstage. The 2005 thriller The Interpreter, with Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman, was actually the first film to shot inside the U.N. itself. In 2008’s The Day The Earth Stood Still remake, the aliens communicate with world leaders gathered at the U.N. A great deal of the political drama in the 2009 satire In The Loop is supposed to take place in the halls and conference rooms of the U.N., though the film wasn’t shot there. The United Nations was the primary setting of the final …
EXCLUSIVE: HBO has bought Valentine, a half-hour comedy script from writer Bryan Sipe and producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald, with Kevin Bacon attached to executive produce and potentially star. Additionally, Sipe has signed on to do a re-write on the Parkes/MacDonald-produced feature The Kid Who Knew Too Much for Paramount, a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1934 and 1956 movies.
Valentine, which Sipe wrote on spec, centers on Johnny Valentine, the role that would be played by Bacon. With three ex wives and his glory days behind him, Johnny Valentine is the new voice of talk radio. He’s not on the left, the right, or the middle, he’s on the bottom. Sipe is executive producing with Parkes/MacDonald Prods.’ Parkes, MacDonald and Ted Gold as well as Bacon and his manager David Schiff.
EXCLUSIVE: When feature producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald got their newly launched TV company up and running with the October hire of Ted Gold as president of television, it was the tail end of the broadcast selling season. So now they’re jumping right in, selling a project to NBC earlier this month under Parkes/MacDonald Prods.’ first-look deal with UMS. Tentatively titled Republic of Pirates, it became the first drama buy this development cycle for new NBC chief Bob Greenblatt and his team. Co-written by Jim Hart and Amanda Wells and executive produced by Parkes, MacDonald, Gold and Tom Fontana, the potential series is based on the book The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard. Set during the 10-year “Golden Age of Piracy” from 1715 to 1725, it follows some of the world’s most notorious pirates as they forge their own rogue nation, called New Providence, which became the first democracy in the Americas.
Probably spurred by the headline-making Somali pirates, pirate TV projects have been red-hot in the past couple of months, with Graham King and Gale Anne Hurd producing Port Royal for FX Prods. and Fox International Channels, which just tapped Scott Rosenbaum as writer, and Ridley and Tony Scott developing Pyrates, a 10- to 13-episode event-type limited series at Fox created by Barry Schindel and to be directed by Stephen Hopkins, which is eyed for next summer. While the sale of Republic of Pirates comes on the heels of the other pirate projects’ announcements, Parkes/MacDonald had been developing the project internally with Fontana since November, and it was picked up by NBC based on a very detailed pitch. Also, there is a big distinction between Republic of Pirates and the other two projects, Gold said. “The ‘pirates’ of all the other shows we know of — the ones who lived in the time of Ridley’s show and in the time of Port Royal -- were actually ‘privateers,’ private sailors and ships that were authorized by their governments to attack foreign shipping during wartime,” he said. “Our pirates are not ‘privateers’ working on behalf of other governments. They are disenfranchised or unemployed sailors who are completely self-governing and work on behalf or their own pirate nation.”
Veteran TV development executive Ted Gold has joined Parkes/MacDonald Prods. as head of television. The Gladiator producers Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald entered the TV arena this summer with a first-look deal at NBC Universal. Gold was most recently Head of TV Development for Deuce Three Prods. and executive producer on the CBS medical drama Three Rivers. Previously, Gold served as SVP of drama series at Fox where he developed and helped launch such series as Prison Break and Bones. Before Fox, Gold oversaw television development for Spelling Entertainment and worked at New World Entertainment. Parkes/MacDonald’s film credits include Catch Me If You Can, Men In Black and Minority Report.