In the Heat of the Night

MGM TV is in the early stages of developing a drama series based on the 1967 pic “In the Heat of the Night,” with Tate Taylor and Warren Littlefield as exec producers.

Taylor, writer and director of “The Help,” and director of the James Brown biopic “Get On Up,” is set to adapt and direct the new incarnation of “Heat.” Set in the present day, the series aims to examine issues of race, justice and inequality through the eyes of characters in Mississippi, where Taylor is from. Project is expected to be shopped to cable buyers in the coming weeks.

“The Help’s” John Norris is also on board as an exec producer with Taylor and Littlefield, who just won an Emmy for shepherding the MGM TV adaptation of “Fargo” for FX.

The 1967 pic (pictured), helmed by Norman Jewison, was a landmark film in the civil rights era as it starred Sidney Poitier as a police detective sent to investigate a murder in a small Southern town in the face of hostility from the local sheriff, played by Rod Steiger. It nabbed five Oscars, including best picture and best actor for Steiger.

Littlefield has history with “Heat of the Night.” During his long run as an NBC programming exec, he developed an earlier series rendition of the property that starred Carroll O’Connor and Howard E. Rollins Jr. That version of “Heat of the Night” ran four seasons on NBC and another four on CBS.

Reps for MGM declined to comment.

Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report.

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