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Fox net drags out ‘Rocky Horror’ pic

TV adaptation's bow to coincide with 30th anni

HOLLYWOOD — Fox is doing the Time Warp again.

The Fox network and Fox TV Studios are collaborating on a TV movie adaptation of “The Rocky Horror Show” aimed at a February premiere on the network.

Stephan Elliott (“The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”) will write and direct the tentatively titled “Rocky Horror Birthday Show.”

Pic’s bow will be timed to the 30th anniversary of the property, which debuted as legit production “The Rocky Horror Show” in London in 1973. The 20th Century Fox feature “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” preemed in 1975. “Birthday” will be mounted as the centerpiece to a celebration event, likely with cross-platform, tie-in programming.

Lou Adler, who brought the musical Stateside and also exec produced the 1975 feature, likewise will exec produce “Birthday Show.”

Berman a big ‘Rocky’ fan

“I’ve been a fan of ‘Rocky Horror’ since I was a teenager, and I’m a huge fan of Stephan Elliott,” Fox entertainment prexy Gail Berman said. “We’re thrilled that he’s joining Lou Adler and his team in bringing the franchise back.

“Other networks may be able to do a musical, but only Fox could present ‘Rocky Horror,’ ” she said.

“The reason to do this is to bring it to a generation who hasn’t seen it and wouldn’t necessarily go to the midnight shows at the Nuart,” said David Madden, who heads Fox TV Studio’s made-for unit, Fox TV Pictures. “It’s going to be revived by casting people who are contemporary and rearranging the music so it’s contemporary. We’re dressing the piece in clothes that will make it more entertaining and more accessible to a 2003 audience.”

Original writer on board

The musical’s original writer, Richard O’Brien, will consult as well as write at least one new song for the pic. O’Brien also portrayed Riff Raff in the film and will contribute a cameo of some kind to “Birthday.” Other original cast members will be sought after for involvement in the birthday event, as part of the pic and/or other related projects.

In addition, the producers are negotiating with Marius De Vries, musical director of “Moulin Rouge” and musical programmer of “Romeo + Juliet,” to lend her expertise as well.

Madden and Fox TV Pictures director Eric Poticha will oversee production.

“We’re sticking very faithfully to the text, very faithfully to the score but visually reimagining it completely,” Madden said. Lensing is skedded to begin in September in Australia.

That O’Brien is being on board also has been key to the project’s development. “It was important to Lou that Richard knew we would be honoring him with this reimagination,” Madden said. “We would not have done this without Richard’s blessing.”