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ABC’s serving up Danish

Alphabet developing U.S. version of 'Unit One'

With “NYPD Blue” fading to black early next year, ABC is looking in an unusual place to find its long-elusive procedural crime drama: Denmark.

The Alphabet is developing a U.S. version of the hit Danish skein “Unit One,” which revolves around an elite group of homicide detectives from multiple branches of a police force. Touchstone Television-based production duo Ian Sander and Kim Moses are exec producing along with scribes-exec producers Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin.

Helmer Jeremiah Chechick is attached to direct if the project goes to pilot.

While U.S. broadcast webs have adapted overseas comedies for the States — think NBC’s upcoming take on “The Office” — it’s much more rare for an international drama to make the trip over the Pond to one of the Big Six. In this case, William Morris snapped up the format rights from DR-TV last year (Daily Variety, Oct. 13) and then began looking for the best way to bring the show to the U.S. market.

Tenpercentery ultimately brought the project to Sander/Moses, which recruited Prestwich and Yorkin; latter scribes already had a script commitment from ABC.

Prestwich and Yorkin will make some significant changes to the show to adapt it for U.S. auds, though it’s also possible scripts from the Danish skein could be used as the basis for episodes of the ABC version.

“Our show will take place in California and our force will be led by a woman,” Sander said. “While it’s a procedural show, it’s going to be character-based. It gets into the family lives of each of the (cops) as well as the life of the family they become as a team.”

Cops in “Unit One” will travel around the state in a high-tech mobile police crime unit, solving the toughest and weirdest crimes. The chief of the unit will be a single mom who lives with her boyfriend and his teenage son.

Prestwich and Yorkin are currently working on “Carnivale.” Previous credits include “Chicago Hope” and “The Education of Max Bickford.”

Sander and Moses (“Profiler,” “I’ll Fly Away”) recently inked a one-year overall deal with Touchstone (Daily Variety, Aug. 27).

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