USA has picked up Dig, a six-episode action adventure event series from Heroes creator Tim Kring and Gideon Raff, co-creator of Showtime’s Homeland and creator of the Israeli series it was based on. It will be filmed in Jerusalem and premiere on USA in late 2014. Location scouting already is underway in the Israeli capital. Dig, which was developed by Keshet in association with BermanBraun, marks the first project commitment for Jeff Wachtel since he was tapped as President and Chief Content Officer and studio head for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. Kring and Raff co-created the series and executive produce with Keshet Media Group CEO Avi Nir and BermanBraun’s Gail Berman, Lloyd Braun and Gene Stein. Dig is a production of Keshet Media Group for UCP in cooperation with the city of Jerusalem. It tells the story of Peter, an FBI agent stationed in Jerusalem who, while investigating a murder of a woman archeologist, uncovers a conspiracy 2000 years in the making that threatens to change the course of history. “As we enter this new chapter for our studio and our portfolio, we’ve been looking for a project that makes a statement,” said Wachtel. “This team of storytellers has put together a smart, sophisticated and compelling show that will hit the market with a big bang and a lasting impression.” The deal was brokered by WME.
EXCLUSIVE: The summer of Wizard Of Oz continues with another sale of a high-profile Oz-themed drama project. I’ve learned that the CW is in negotiations for Dorothy Must Die, a drama from the Heroes trio of creator/exec producer Tim Kring and exec producers Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster. Written by Armus and Foster with Kring supervising, I hear the project is based on the upcoming young adult novel Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige. It is a revisionist take on the classic tale set in present day, 80 years after Dorothy Gale supposedly came home. In reality, the magically-ever-youthful Dorothy has stayed in Oz, presiding over a now fascist fairyland with her perfectly manicured iron fist and the help of her henchmen – the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. But when another young woman from Kansas is swept up in a tornado and magically dropped into this war-torn Oz, our hero discovers a revolutionary underground of witches and enchanted beings only to learn that she is destined to lead their people in the fight to reclaim Oz from a power-hungry Dorothy’s ruthless clutches. The book will be published by HarperTeen next April, with digital prequel novella, No Place Like Oz, available now. The property originated at James Frey’s book-packaging company Full Fathom Five, with him and Todd Cohen, President of Film and Television, exec producing alongside Armus, Foster and Kring.
Dorothy Must Die, which is yet to be laid off at a studio, is the fourth Wizard Of Oz TV project sold in the past two months. It joins NBC drama Emerald City, a dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz in the vein of Game Of Thrones from writer Matthew Arnold, CBS’ Dorothy, a medical soap inspired by the characters and themes from The Wizard Of Oz, and Syfy’s miniseries Warriors Of Oz from director Timur Bekmambetov, a fantasy-action reimagining of the classic story. The great interest in Wizard Of Oz is not entirely unexpected as the title has been getting a lot of attention in conjunction with the upcoming 75th anniversary of the 1939 feature, which will include a 3D re-release of the Judy Garland starrer. It also comes on the heels of the success of Oz The Great And Powerful earlier this year.
Steve Levitan, Damon Lindelof, Tim Kring & Anthony Zuiker On Pilot Season, Network Notes, Agents, Ratings And Nikki Finke
Here are four top series creators — Modern Family and Just Shoot Me‘s Steve Levitan, Lost‘s Damon Lindelof, CSI‘s Anthony Zuiker and Heroes, Crossing Jordan and Touch‘s Tim Kring — sharing what they really think about pilot season, network notes, agents, Nielsen ratings as well as Nikki Finke and Deadline. …
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Kiefer Sutherland said Sunday during Fox’ TCA panel for his new science-meets spirituality drama series Touch that he begins work shooting the long-discussed 24 movie in late March/early April. That jibes with what Deadline had previously reported as Sutherland’s schedule opens following his work on his new series, from Heroes creator Tim Kring, which has a special preview on January 25 before settling on March 19 into the Monday 9 PM time period — better known at Fox as “The Kiefer slot.” If the fact he’s jumping back into Jack Bauer’s well-worn shoes doesn’t make it clear, Sutherland said Sunday he has no interest in distancing himself from the eight years he spent saving the world on 24. He described having had little interest in diving back into the TV waters so quickly but was left little choice after reading the pilot script for Touch. “I remember getting to Page 35 and thinking, ‘Shit. I’m in real trouble here,’ ” Sutherland recalled. “The character is so vastly different (from that of Bauer), the tone of the piece is so vastly different. And that’s part of its appeal.”
Fox just picked up Touch last week and already Entertainment President Kevin Reilly is unveiling the new drama series with star Kiefer Sutherland and executive producer Tim Kring at his side for a Q&A after his MIPCOM 2011 keynote on October …
Tim Kring’s pilot Touch had been a lock for a series order pretty much since the moment Kiefer Sutherland committed to the project in February. Now the pilot, which was filmed over the summer because of Sutherland’s Broadway stint, has been officially picked up to series for midseason with a 13-episode order. There is speculation that the series would launch in March in what is known as the “Kiefer” slot on Fox, Monday at 9 PM where Sutherland’s previous series 24 aired, but the network is not confirming that. Here is Fox’s release:
FOX has ordered 13 episodes of the new drama series TOUCH, created and written by Emmy-nominated Tim Kring (“Heroes”), it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. TOUCH, starring Emmy and Golden Globe winner Kiefer Sutherland, will join the schedule in the spring of 2012. The pilot was directed and executive-produced by Francis Lawrence (“Water for Elephants”), and the show comes from Chernin Entertainment and Tailwind Productions, in association with 20th Century Fox Television.
EXCLUSIVE: After six years at CBS TV Studios, writer-producer Carol Barbee is moving to 20th Century Fox TV with a seven-figure overall deal. Under the pact, which starts in June, Barbee will join Touch, the studio’s drama pilot starring Kiefer Sutherland. On the project, co-produced by 20th TV-based Chernin Entertainment, Barbee will serve as an executive producer alongside creator/executive producer Tim Kring.
Barbee and Kring first met a decade ago on the NBC drama Providence, where Barbee landed her first writing job and Kring served as a co-executive producer. They kept in touch, but overall deals at separate studios (CBS Studios for Barbee, UMS for Kring) made a collaboration impossible. Then earlier this year, just as her deal at CBS was coming up, Kring approached Barbee about partnering with him on Touch, a pilot he had at Fox about a father who discovers that his autistic, mute son is communicating with him through a complex series of numbers and may be able to predict events before they happen. “It was very ambitious and emotional,” Barbee said of the script. “I love the idea of how we all are connected, we all are one, and the idea of the special-needs child at the heart of the story is very touching to me as a mother.” Despite being drawn to the project, Barbee was not sure she could do it because she still had a few more months on her CBS deal. But then Sutherland was cast in Touch and, because of his Broadway commitment, production on the pilot was pushed to June, after the end of Barbee’s current pact. “The whole thing worked out seamlessly,” she said. “I had an amazing time at CBS, and I’m very thankful for everything they’ve done for me and all they’ve allowed me to do. Now I’m very excited to go on a new adventure with new people. I really connected with everyone at 20th TV and FBC, and I’m excited to be working again with Tim Kring.”
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UPDATED: Kiefer Sutherland is ready for a primetime return. The 24 star has closed …