Spacey’s Fox debut is teen tycoon skein

'Desperate' sudser pilot OK'd by ABC

Kevin Spacey is developing his first TV series project at Fox, teaming with scribe J.J. Wall and producer Ross Martin for a half-hour based on the story of a real-life financial whiz kid.

Meanwhile, ABC has given a pilot greenlight to Touchstone Television’s hourlong “Desperate Housewives,” from scribes Chuck Pratt and Marc Cherry (Daily Variety, Oct. 22).

Fox has given a script commitment to the half-hour revolving around a 14-year-old boy who happens to be a freakishly smart financial analyst. It’s based on the life of 13-year-old Wall Street pro Timothy Olsen, whose book “The Teenage Investor” was recently published by McGraw Hill.

Script is being developed by Spacey’s Trigger Street Prods. and Martin’s Plant Films in association with 20th Century Fox TV. Spacey, his production partner Dana Brunetti, Martin and Wall are all on board as exec producers.

Martin initially brought the project to Spacey.

“It’s one of those cases where your mom calls you up and says, ‘There’s an interesting family you should meet,’ ” Martin said, noting that he and Olsen share the same hometown. “We became tight with Timmy and his family, and the more you get to know them, the richer the potential stories become.”

Spacey heard about the idea from Martin, and the two considered developing it as a feature. It soon became apparent that the idea worked as a series, and sitcom vet Wall then came on board.

“What appeals to me is that it’s this story of a kid with an amazing ability in the middle of this normal, middle-class family,” Wall said. “He’s this 500-lb. gorilla in the room. The fact that it’s reality-based is also appealing because it gives us such an amazing foundation.”

Wall writes on “Less Than Perfect” and “Married to the Kellys.” Martin’s Plant Films is producing reality pilots for VH1 and Fox TV Studios.

Project is a split package between Gersh and WMA.

Meanwhile, ABC has picked up “Desperate Housewives,” a sudser based on a spec script from Cherry and Pratt. Paradigm-packaged skein is described as a darkly comic and offbeat serial about the sexy, amoral, insidious and incredibly secretive lives of the inhabitants of a neighborhood cul-de-sac. Wry commentary is provided by a female narrator, a resident of the cul-de-sac who commits suicide at the beginning of the pilot rather than face the repercussions of her own dark secret.

Touchstone Television prexy Steve McPherson told Daily Variety last fall that the script has “such a point of view that it just jumps off the page,” while ABC drama chief Thom Sherman said the script for “Housewives” was “really juicy with a great comic spin on it.”

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