'Cincinatti' scribe inks new project

HBO and David Milch are prepping what could be the scribe’s next project, and it’s a return to familiar territory: the realm of New York City cops.

Sources said the creator will develop the project about a Vietnam veteran who returns to the U.S. in the early 1970s and joins the New York City police force. Story is loosely based on the experience of longtime Milch collaborator and fellow “NYPD Blue” exec producer Bill Clark, who is developing the show with Milch.

Project was one of several Milch and HBO began working on several years ago but put on the shelf as Milch worked on other series for the pay web. But with Milch’s “John From Cincinnati” now officially off HBO’s map, the cops project has now been revived.

Milch earned his reputation as the co-creator of “NYPD Blue” and as a scribe on “Hill Street Blues.” He and Clark also worked on CBS’ “Brooklyn South.”

Vietnam vet project would combine the ethos of those shows but in a period context, which Milch attempted with “Deadwood.”

When the cop project was first put into development at HBO, Milch described the protag as a man who was “recruited as a soldier while he was overseas, to come back as a disaffected veteran and infiltrate the antiwar movement, as a shortcut into the New York City police force as a detective.” He also called it a “tragic story” because the main character had to pretend to disavow his beliefs.

HBO on Monday opted not to renew the experimental surf drama “John,” which won over a cadre of loyal fans but failed to find a mass audience.

Meanwhile, the other possible Milch project, a pair of “Deadwood” movies, is seen as a longshot as the actors move on to other roles.

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