Fox springs into ‘Drive’

Net orders 12 episodes of the already-filmed pilot

Fox has greenlit series production on “Drive,” an hourlong actioner from creators/exec producers Tim Minear (“Angel”) and Ben Queen.

Net has ordered 12 episodes on top of the already-filmed pilot. Goal is to get the 20th Century Fox TV-produced show on the air in time for a spring debut, possibly taking advantage of the net’s “American Idol” lead-in.

In addition to “Drive,” Fox had been mulling a midseason order for the space-themed “Beyond,” from 20th and Imagine Television. With “Drive” picked up to series, “Beyond” will not move forward now, Fox said.

“Drive” lensed over the summer, outside the usual pilot production season. Greg Yaitanes (“Bones”) directed and exec produced the pilot.

Skein has been described as a sort of “The Amazing Race” on acid, focusing on an illegal cross-country race in which every participant needs to win, but only one can. Minear told Daily Variety the show also has elements of “Cannonball Run” and the Michael Douglas starrer “The Game.”

“I described it to Joss (Whedon) as ‘Magnolia’ on wheels,” Minear said. “It’s really about the people in those cars.”

Scribe said the tone of the show is “deeply action, deeply funny and deeply emotional,” all at once.

“It (can) be as silly as ‘Rat Race’ or as scary and cool as ‘The Game,’ ” he said. “It’s a canvas on which we can do anything we want.”

“Drive” features a large ensemble cast that Minear said can expand or contract at will. In addition to the drivers in the race, skein will eventually explore the people staging the race — “the puppetmasters,” as Minear calls them.

It’s expected Fox will request changes to the pilot episode, with recasting of certain parts also a possibility. Thesps in the pilot included Ivan Sergei, Alan Ruck and Kristin Lehman.

Minear’s past credits include “Wonderfalls,” “Firefly” and “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.” He’s on staff at Fox’s “Standoff.”

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