‘Q’ helmer has hunch about ABC

Telepic reps Moore's first big TV gig

A correction was made to this article on Mar. 9, 2004.

Jason Moore is moving from “Avenue Q” to the bell tower.

Helmer of Broadway’s puppet-centric musical has signed on to direct ABC’s upcoming live-action telepic tuner “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” Storyline Entertainment’s Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are exec producing the previously announced project, now targeted for a 2005 broadcast.

Project reps Moore’s first big foray into television. He’s previously directed episodes of the WB’s “Everwood” and “One Tree Hill.”

Zadan and Meron have had success in bringing legit helmers to TV. Rob Marshall made his TV directing debut with ABC’s “Annie” and choreographed the duo’s 1999 take on “Cinderella,” which was directed by Robert Iscove; Marshall went on to reunite with the producers for the Oscar-winning feature adaptation of “Chicago.”

“We haven’t found anyone since Rob Marshall we feel more strongly can make that transition (from stage to screen),” Meron told Daily Variety. “He’s clever and fresh and inventive, and he knows his way around a musical. With Jason, hopefully lightning will strike twice.”

Before “Hunchback,” Gersh-repped Moore is attached to direct the upcoming Broadway adaptation of Robert Harling’s “Steel Magnolias” (Daily Variety, Feb. 13). “Hopefully, we’ll get going (with filming) after that,” Meron said.

Moore recently met with Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, who wrote the music and lyrics for Disney’s 1996 animated take on “Hunchback” and are doing the same for the telepic. He also met with Sally Robinson, who is rewriting the script for the project, which has been in the works for a couple of years.

ABC execs decided to move forward with “Hunchback” last year following a successful reading of the script in Gotham.