Fox gives in to ‘Darkside’

Net attracted to scary skein

Fox is over the moon for “Darkside,” a “Lost”-like lunar thriller in the works from helmer Michael Dinner.

Skein — from Roundtable Entertainment and scribes Brandon Beckner and Scott Sampila — will follow a group of astronauts who trace an SOS signal to the dark side of the moon. Once they get there, they discover a mysterious compound.

Like “Lost,” 20th Century Fox TV-produced “Darkside” is being conceived as a mystery-filled “event”-style project filled with sudsy storylines and big plot twists. Roundtable’s Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo are exec producing with Dinner (“North Shore”), who’s attached to helm the pilot via his Rooney McP shingle.

‘What if’ series

“With the success of ‘Lost,’ we started thinking about what makes an ‘event’ series, and to us, we decided it has to begin with a really big ‘what if,'” said Scharbo.

Beckner and Sampila had already talked to Matthews and Scharbo’s Roundtable Prods. about a feature version of the idea; after “Lost” hit big, the concept was revisited as a series. Matthews (“13 Going on 30,” “Popular”) said she and Scharbo had long wanted to work with Dinner, and the helmer was anxious to delve into exactly this kind of project.

“He thinks TV’s really ready for a cool, horror/’X-Files’-type show,” Matthews said.

“Darkside,” which has been given a script commitment by Fox, will explore both the “scary discoveries of what’s going on at this complex on the moon” and an Earth-bound storyline about a government conspiracy to cover up what happened to the astronauts, Matthews said.

More on Dinner plate

Dinner, an Emmy winner for his work on “The Wonder Years,” is also working on two other projects at Fox: “Spring Street,” with scribe Barry Schindel, and “Kidnapped,” from writer Jason Smilovic.

“Darkside” is part of a busy development slate for Matthews and Scharbo. With David Barrett, they most recently co-created the WB drama “The Mountain” via their Roundtable shingle.

At ABC, duo are teamed with scribes Ron Hanning (“Frasier”) and Amy Welsh for “Mr. & Mrs. Doe,” an hourlong dramedy about two single FBI agents who go undercover as a married couple. Touchstone Television will produce.

“They have all of the headaches and none of the benefits of marriage,” Scharbo said.

Over at NBC, Roundtable has set up a drama from feature scribe Neil Tolkin (“The Emperor’s Club”). Hour is set in the world of the Los Angeles real estate market. “It’s about people who sell dreams for a living yet have never managed to attain that dream for themselves,” Scharbo explained.

Roundtable also has an hourlong drama set up at UPN from scribe Carla Kettner and Spelling Television. And as previously reported, the WMA-repped shingle is teamed with scribe Gary Glasberg and 20th Century Fox TV for an ABC legal drama (Daily Variety, Oct. 13).

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