Bell options Canadian best-sellers

Company teams with Shaftsbury on 'Old City Hall'

Bell Media, owner of Canada’s top network CTV, has optioned TV rights for two popular Canadian crime novel series, and is partnering with Toronto shingle Shaftsbury on an adaptation of local author Robert Rotenberg’s legal thriller “Old City Hall,” the company announced Wednesday.

Screenwriter Andrew Wreggitt (“One Dead Indian”) is attached to adapt British Columbia author William Deverell’s crime series, about a lawyer balancing urban work life with Gulf-Island home life, for the smallscreen.

Toronto author Giles Blunt has signed on to adapt his own crime novel series, about a small-town sleuth.

And Shaftsbury is in talks with a top Canadian screenwriter to script Rotenberg’s “Old City Hall,” about the complex legal and personal drama that follows the arrest of a popular radio host in the murder of his wife. “City Hall,” which was optioned by Shaftsbury, is being developed as a drama series, said Corrie Coe, senior VP of independent production at Bell Media.

Coe said the first two projects (with Deverell and Blunt) are being developed under Bell Media’s Writer Only Program where it works directly with scribes at the initial stage of development. Once Bell is ready to order a pilot on the project it assigns the rights to a Canadian production company.

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