Hoping to revive the charming young doctor that inspired a generation of medical dramas, the Paramount-based Cort-Madden company and Gotham-based Boardwalk Entertainment have teamed to produce “Dr. Kildare,” the fictional M.D. that spawned 16 films for Paramount and MGM as well as the popular ’60s NBC TV series.
Created by writer Max Brand in the late 1930s, the Dr. Kildare character also was the center of a bestselling series of books, a radio show and the NBC series starring Richard Chamberlain that ran from 1961 to 1966.
In the TV and film series, Dr. Kildare was often pitted against hospital bureaucrats, various deadly diseases and affairs of the heart.
The update takes place over six to 12 years, during which time Kildare rises from a brash young intern to a celebrated doctor at an urban hospital. Pic will focus primarily on the stormy relationship between Kildare and his ailing, crusty mentor Dr. Gillespie, who has been purposely tough on the young doc in order to groom him for the top job.
“‘Dr. Kildare’ was one of the first medical shows to break through as a series,” said Cort-Madden partner David Madden. “But we don’t want this to be just another episode of ‘ER.’ ”
“We want to focus on the complicated nature of the mentor-protege relationship. On the one hand, there is competition, but there is also a love between Kildare, the ambitious crusader, and Gillespie, the crusty curmudgeon.”
Keri Selig is credited with bringing the project into Cort-Madden and will serve as co-producer. William F. Nolan will act as associate producer. The producers are seeking a writer for the project.
Madden and the company’s other principal Robert Cort are currently lensing the sequel to Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple.”
Boardwalk — run by chairman Fred Tarter and Alan Wagner, who previously served as VP of development for CBS — is an indie producer of such telefilms as “Wounded Heart,” “Hearts Adrift” and several of the “Spenser” MOWs.
Vince Gerardis of the Agency repped Boardwalk and Nolan on the deal.