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Fremantle races with ‘Drivers’

Series centers on Le Mans race during the 1950s, '60s

FremantleMedia Enterprises is gearing up to get behind the wheel of “The Drivers,” a TV series it is developing based on the Wallace A. Wyss book “Shelby: The Man, the Cars, the Legend.”

Show will tell the true story of a group of rival young drivers from the U.S. and across Europe who risk everything for a chance to win the Le Mans race, which takes place over 24 hours in France each year. Show would be set in the 1950s and ’60s.

Mark Sennet Entertainment and Headline Pictures will co-produce “The Drivers.”

Sennet is adapting Stephen King’s “Bag of Bones” as a miniseries, while Headline is behind Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut, “Quartet.”

“The motor car racing scene in the ’50s and ’60s was raw, sexy and dramatic, with life and death always hanging in the balance,” said Mark Sennet, CEO of Sennet Entertainment.

FremantleMedia optioned the book from Iconografix.

The deal follows FME’s plans last week to start financing and packaging English-language drama series produced in Europe for U.S. audiences. FME will fund “The Drivers” in Europe as part of that effort and sell it Stateside and in other overseas territories.

It comes on the heels of the appointment of Nathalie Drouaire, who will lead the development of an English-language international co-financed drama slate working with Jeff Tahler, senior VP of development and acquisitions in the U.S., FME teams in the U.K. and third party producers in the U.K., Europe and U.S.

“We are putting significant resources behind our aggressive global drama push,” said David Ellender, global CEO of FME.

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