ABC hoops it up with unique telepic prod’n

@Radical to co-produce girls b-ball 'Season'

ABC is partnering with @Radical.media and advertising agency Wieden & Kennedy for a two-hour telepic adaptation of “In These Girls Hope Is a Muscle,” the 1995 bestseller that chronicled the championship season of the Amherst High School girls basketball squad.

“Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Dawson’s Creek” scribe-producer Chuck Rosin has signed on to write a teleplay for the project, which will likely air sometime during 2000-01, under the title “Hurricane Season.” While ABC has only ordered a two-hour pic, there’s buzz that if it is a success, the net might consider taking “Hurricane” to series.

Auspices of the pic are a bit unusual.

@Radical.media is chiefly known as a commercial production house, with credits such as the critically praised “This Is SportsCenter” campaign for ESPN and Budweiser’s original Louie the Lizard effort. Other clients have included IBM, Nike and Coca-Cola.

Ad agency Wieden & Kennedy also has worked with numerous sports-related firms, including Nike. Firm produced the shoemaker’s “If you let me play” Women’s National Basketball Assn.-linked campaign.

Jon Kamen, co-topper of @Radical.media, said his company and Wieden & Kennedy became interested in the “Hurricane” project soon after author Madeleine Blais’ first New York Times Magazine story on the Amherst girls was published in 1994. When a book based on the article came out the next year, @Radical.media quickly optioned it.

“It’s an authentic sports story, but it’s also a story about the empowerment of young women,” Kamen told Daily Variety.

At one point, “Hurricane” seemed likely to be produced for ABC under the “Wonderful World of Disney” banner. ABC movies and minis topper Susan Lyne, however, believed strongly in the project and greenlit it as an Alphabet telepic.

Kamen and @Radical.media’s Frank Scherma are exec producing “Hurricane,” along with Wieden & Kennedy managing director Bill Davenport. Jane Long and Bedonna Smith will oversee development and production for @Radical.media and Wieden & Kennedy, respectively.

While “Hurricane” will serve as @Radical.media’s inaugural U.S. telepic, entertainment production is “definitely something we want to move more into,” Kamen said.

Rosin’s deal was brokered by Elliot Webb at BKWU.

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