Spotnitz, cable network looking into the future

Frank Spotnitz is peering into the future for his next batch of TV projects.

The “X-Files” alum has pacted with HBO to develop two drama series, both with futuristic themes.

“Humanitas” is described as being set in a time when major advances in medicine have created dilemmas for doctors and fanned fears that a devastating pandemic is imminent. Spotnitz just turned in the first draft of a script that he is exec producing along with Gavin Polone.

HBO suggested it was interested in a show with a medical-thriller theme when Spotnitz met with execs there more than a year ago. That set him off on research about the cutting edge of medicine and the ethical and moral dilemmas raised by science’s ever-advancing ability to manipulate genetics, which forms the heart of the show, Spotnitz told Daily Variety.

“You don’t have to invent much for this topic to be terrifying,” he said.

The threat posed by infectious diseases — organic and man-made — is also staggering. “Viruses can mutate so quickly,” he said. “This is a war without end.”

He’s also adapting for HBO a smallscreen rendition of Robert Silverberg’s famed 1971 sci-fi novel “The World Inside.” Book revolves around a grim vision of the future where overpopulation has run amok, and people live in carefully controlled urban centers where frustration and anger are eliminated, sex is rampant and fertility is the most prized human attribute.

Spotnitz is co-writing the “World Inside” script with Adam Rapp. Rapp and Spotnitz will exec produce along with Carolyn Strauss, Vince Gerardis and Ralph Vicinanza.

“I’m not usually attracted to dystopian stories, but the more I read this novel the more I saw its relevance to our world today.”

Separately, Spotnitz is penning a pilot for FX, “Arc,” based on the life of a real person involved in the covert ops world.

“It’s sort of about what would happen if Jason Bourne decided to leave the spy game and try to fit into normal life,” Spotnitz said. “It’s a character piece and it’s very reality-based.”

Project hails from Tony and Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Prods. and CBS Television Studios. Spotnitz is exec producing with Bazzel Baz.

Spotnitz, repped by WME, was Chris Carter’s right-hand exec producer on “X-Files” for most of that show’s nine-season run. More recently he’s been focusing on feature projects, including a remake of 1983’s “The Star Chamber” set up at 20th Century Fox with Matt Baer also producing and Scott Marshall Smith penning the script. He also co-wrote last year’s “X-Files: I Want to Believe” feature.

Spotnitz was the showrunner on ABC’s redo of “The Night Stalker” in the 2005-06 season, and he worked alongside Michael Mann on the gritty CBS cop drama “Robbery Homicide Division” in 2002-03.

Six years ago, Spotnitz launched a website, http://www.biglight.com, that of late turned into a bustling social network for “X-Files” fans, among other sci-fi/fantasy fare, and a wiki about the various pics and TV series that he’s worked on.

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more