Network also greenlights 'Empire State' drama
ABC greenlit three more drama pilots Friday, including a Jerry Bruckheimer crime hour, a sudser from Mark Gordon’s company and a high school skein from McG and music maven Pharrell Williams.“Limelight” was partly inspired by hip-hop producer Williams and his formative years at a performing arts school. Project, from McG’s Wonderland Sound and Vision label, will focus on the world of the students and faculty at such a school in New York. K.J. Steinberg (“Gossip Girl”) is penning the drama and will exec produce with McG and Leonard Goldberg. Wonderland TV topper Peter Johnson is co-exec producer, while Williams will receive a consulting producer credit. David Semel is directing and will exec produce as well. ABC originally gave “Limelight” a series commitment in 2007 — just days before the writers strike commenced. David S. Rosenthal was originally attached to write; project was later rolled and redeveloped with Steinberg. Projects surrounding high school performers are suddenly hot: Fox will bow the Ryan Murphy series “Glee” later this season, while the theatrical remake of “Fame” is set for release this fall. Warner Bros. TV is behind “Limelight,” through its Wonderland deal; it is also the studio on Bruckheimer’s new ABC pilot. That untitled Bruckheimer drama, known internally as “The Unknown,” centers on amateur crime fighters. Mark Friedman wrote the project and will exec produce with Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman. Danny Cannon (“CSI”) will direct and exec produce the pilot. Should it go to air, new project would rep Bruckheimer’s first scripted series for ABC. Bruckheimer was once parked at sister ABC Studios (then known as Touchstone TV), but that relationship generated two CBS staples: “CSI” (which Touchstone dropped out of) and “The Amazing Race.” ABC also picked up the drama “Empire State,” which centers on two clashing families and a “Romeo and Juliet”-style love story. Michael Seitzman wrote and will exec produce “Empire State,” which is based on a story by Seitzman and Jeff Reiner. Mark Gordon and Deborah Spera also exec produce, while ABC Studios is behind it.