ABC is getting back into the miniseries business, partnering with Salma Hayek to develop a new take on “Wicked.”
Erik Jendresen (“Band of Brothers”) is writing the script; aim is to turn the book that inspired the long-running Broadway tuner into an eight-hour miniseries for the Alphabet.
ABC Studios is producing, along with Ventanarosa Prods., the shingle run by Hayek and production partner Jose Tamez. Hayek, Tamez and Jendresen will exec produce.
The broadcast networks have mostly gotten out of the made-for-TV and miniseries biz, save for a few time buys and acquisitions, and have not been anxious to get back into the longform biz — ABC, for example, has had the four-hour miniseries “Ben Hur” on the shelf for many months but hasn’t yet figured out where or when to air it.
But “Wicked,” a retelling of the “Wizard of Oz” tale from the Wicked Witch’s point of view, may make a better fit for the Alphabet.
The mini is based on the 1995 book “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West” by Gregory Maguire, which recast the witch as a hero fighting for her homeland. The book was turned into the wildly popular musical “Wicked,” which hit Broadway in 2003.
The ABC miniseries will stick to the book and won’t be based on the tuner, penned by Winnie Holzman
and produced by Marc Platt and David Stone
ABC does not have any rights to the musical, which has been in development as a feature at Universal (which was also an investor in the Broadway show) via Platt’s company.
Hayek is so far attached solely as an exec producer; it’s unclear whether she would take a role in the project.
At ABC, Hayek was an exec producer on “Ugly Betty.” She and Ventanarosa are developing the adaptation of telenovela “Los Roldan” at the Alphabet as well.
As for Jendresen, the scribe is also writing the drama script “Voyage to Mars” for NBC through Sony Pictures TV. He’s exec producing “Mars” with Ross Fineman.
Jendresen, who’s repped by WME, wrote the bible and several episodes of “Band of Brothers” for HBO.