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Best-selling crime novelist James Ellroy (“L.A. Confidential”) has inked a deal with Paramount to pen his first TV drama pilot, a project for NBC dubbed “L.A. Sheriff’s Homicide.”

Robert Nathan is attached as exec producer. NBC is considering the project for mid-season 1998-99 or for the fall of 1999. Par’s network TV unit picked up the project from Scripps-Howard Prods., which struck a development deal with Ellroy last year. SHP’s Michele Brustin and David Percelay are also attached as exec producers.

The series will be based on Ellroy’s experiences with the homicide unit of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department while he did research for the autobiographical book “My Dark Places,” which chronicled the investigation of the 1958 murder of Ellroy’s mother.

Earlier this year, the adaptation of Ellroy’s novel ‘L.A. Confidential’ won an Oscar. His other page-turners include “White Jazz,” “The Black Dahlia” and “American Tabloid.” Nathan, who has an overall deal with Par TV, was one of the original writers on NBC’s “Law & Order” and also served a stint as co-exec producer on “ER.”