Director makes TV production bow

ABC has inked a far-reaching two-year deal with filmmaker Martin Scorsese that includes a 13-episode commitment for a drama series written and co-executive produced by Nick Pileggi, as well as a TV movie and a miniseries.

The exclusive pact marks Scorsese’s first serious entry into TV production. All projects will be executive produced by Scorsese through his Cappa Prods., and he can direct any of the projects or episodes he chooses.

“Martin Scorsese is one of the greatest filmmakers of our time,” said ABC Entertainment president Jamie Tarses. “We are thrilled that he will now bring those considerable talents to bear for ABC.”

The Scorsese series for ABC is not expected to debut until midseason next year or fall 1999. Pileggi, an executive producer on CBS’ “Michael Hayes” who wrote the screenplays for Scorsese-directed films “Casino” and “Goodfellas,” will write and co-executive produce the pilot for the ABC drama.

Producer Barbara De Fina will co-executive produce the series and will produce all the other projects. In addition to the drama, ABC has committed to produce a six-hour miniseries or limited series and a two-hour telefilm.

In addition to “Goodfellas” and “Casino,” Scorsese’s best-known works are “Taxi Driver,” starring Jodie Foster; “Mean Streets” and “Raging Bull,” with Robert De Niro; “The Color of Money”; “The Last Temptation of Christ”; and, most recently, “Kundun.” He also produced “The Grifters.”

Scorsese is the latest and probably the most prominent of several well-known filmmakers to enter the TV business over the past year. One source said he made the deal because it’s an opportunity to create projects that won’t work as feature films.

“Television is an exciting medium that reaches and influences millions of people every day,” Scorsese said in a statement. “Through it, you can deal with so many important and controversial subjects that we are challenged by this opportunity.”

The deal was brokered by CAA.

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