FX to lense ‘Meltdown’

Cabler primes original nuke disaster pic

FX has greenlit “American Meltdown,” an original movie about nuclear disaster, with Jeremiah S. Chechik (“Benny & Joon,” “Diabolique”) on board to direct.

Production on the pic, from exec producers Craig Anderson and Beth Grossbard of Craig Anderson Prods., is slated to begin March 1; target airdate is in June.

FX’s last original pic, “44 Minutes,” based on the true story of a high-profile shootout in North Hollywood, bowed last June to record ratings for the cabler. Premiere netted 3.3 million viewers.

Larry and Paul Barber (“The Director”) penned the cautionary tale chronicling the events of a contemporary nuclear plant disaster and its aftermath. “Meltdown” had been in development for over a year at FX (Daily Variety, Jan. 21, 2003).

“It’s the thinking man’s action flick. On the surface, it’s about the relationship between an FBI profiler brought on to a case and the lead terrorist who is threatening to blow up a nuclear reactor,” said Gerard Bocaccio, FX senior veepee of entertainment. “But more generally, it explores the preparedness of this country’s nuclear facilities if and when they come under attack.”

Bocaccio will oversee the project for the channel.

“It’s really asks, ‘How vulnerable are we?’ and should raise a lot of discussion about soft targets like the plants and what the country is doing about it,” Grossbard said.

“Meltdown” is just one of several drama projects centered on terrorism issues.

This summer, TNT will premiere six-part series “The Grid,” a chronicle of a fictional terrorist attack on London told from the point of view of an American-British counterterrorism team and the terrorist cell. FX recently acquired the rights to develop a two-hour movie written by Peter Lance based on his book “1000 Years for Revenge: International Terrorism and the FBI (The Untold Story),” which contends the Sept. 11 attacks may have been avoided. Hyde Park Entertainment is also shopping a cable project involving homeland security based on the graphic novel “Subatomic” (Daily Variety, Dec. 23).

Chechik’s credits include “The Avengers” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

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