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FX goes ‘Over There’

Cabler gives greenlight to Bochco war pilot

FX has greenlit production on the one-hour war drama pilot “Over There” from Steven Bochco and Chris Gerolmo (“Citizen X”).

Cabler has been mulling the project since earlier this year (Daily Variety, May 5), more recently securing 20th Century Fox Television to produce the ambitious project with Steven Bochco Prods.

FX has ordered the pilot, plus three scripts.

“Over There” marks the first foray into cable series for 20th, which also produces Bochco’s long-running police drama “NYPD Blue.”

Project is FX’s second hourlong pilot, after the Fox TV Studios/Regency TV/Pariah project “Thief” (Daily Variety, Oct. 29, 2003), to get picked up since “Rescue Me.” (“Thief,” which stars Andre Braugher as a professional crook, wrapped production last month.)

Exec producers Bochco and Gerolmo co-wrote the pilot, which the latter will direct. Casting begins next week, with production slated to begin in December.

“Over There” revolves around a sergeant and his platoon stationed in Iraq. The first episode centers on a small battle, while the second focuses on the platoon’s attempt to guard a checkpoint. Stories involving the soldiers’ families on the homefront will be interwoven in the frontline drama.

FX entertainment president John Landgraf, who had approached Bochco upon his arrival at FX to create a war drama, likened the skein to a series of vignettes, each episode taking place in a “very intense contained amount of time in one geographical area.”

“It won’t be a satirical look at the war in the way ‘MASH’ was. We want it to be an accurate look at war and the people fighting it,” Landgraf said. “Our whole goal is to have soldiers — past and present — feel like we are getting their experience right.”

That said, should “Over There” get a full series order, Landgraf said the ensemble would be ever-changing — some soldiers will be killed, relieved of duty or sent home while others would rotate in.

Twentieth topper Dana Walden said the scripts were “among the most daring and compelling we’ve ever read — not to mention among the most timely.” Landgraf insisted, however, “There isn’t any political agenda underpinning what we’re doing.”

Bochco’s upcoming drama series “Blind Justice” will premiere on ABC next year.

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