Paul Lee is casting a wide net in his first season at the helm of ABC development.
On Tuesday the Alphabet handed out pilot or presentation orders to seven drama projects, six of them from ABC Studios. The orders range from a fantasy-mystery from “Lost” alums to sudsers from Marc Cherry and Darren Star to a horror drama from “Paranormal Activity” helmer Oren Peli to a project dubbed ” ‘The O.C.’ in D.C.” exec produced by Josh Schwartz.
These pickups come on the heels of recent pilot orders for such disparate projects as the reboot of “Charlie’s Angels” and the swinging ’60s period piece “Pan Am.”
Clearly, ABC Entertainment Group entertainment prexy Lee is rolling the dice on a number of big concepts. ABC’s drama development in recent years had tended to focus on procedurals, earthy police dramas and femme-friendly ensemblers.
Full pilot orders went to Cherry’s “Hallelujah”; former “Lost” exec producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz’s “Once Upon a Time”; Peli-penned “The River”; and “Revenge,” from “Swingtown” creator-exec producer Mike Kelley. Presentation orders were given to Star’s “Good Christian Bitches” and “Identity,” from Mark Gordon Co.
“Hallelujah” revolves around a tiny town in Tennessee torn apart by the forces of good and evil until a stranger arrives to restore faith to the town’s residents. Episodes will be punctuated by songs from a gospel choir, which is meant to serve as a kind of Greek chorus.
Cherry penned the pilot and will exec produce with Sabrina Wind, who heads his ABC-based production banner.
Kitsis and Horowitz’s “Once Upon a Time” is a mix of sci-fi and fantasy with a strong mystery element, set in a small town in Maine. Premise is a modern-day take on fairy tales, with a female protagonist who comes from a unique background.
“The River,” from Peli, hails from DreamWorks TV and ABC Studios. Shot in the style of the “Blair Witch Project,” it revolves around a search for a person who went missing in the Amazon river. Peli co-wrote the pilot with Michael Perry. Peli, Jason Blum and DreamWorks TV’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank exec produce.
“Revenge” revolves around a vengeful woman with a secret who moves to the Hamptons. Kelley exec produces with Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey.
“Georgetown,” from Warner Bros. TV, is an ensembler set among youthful aides to power brokers in Washington, D.C. Will Fetters penned the script and exec produces with Schwartz, Savage and Len Goldstein.
“Good Christian Bitches,” based on the book of the same name, revolves around a divorced mother of two who encounters some friction after she moves back to her hometown of Dallas. Robert Harling penned the pilot and will exec produce with Star and Aaron Kaplan.
“Identity” revolves around an elite police unit that combats identity-related crime. Pilot was penned by John Glenn, who exec produces with Mark Gordon and Deb Spera. It’s based on the ITV format of the same name.