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TV digs into new ‘Holes’

Hatchery, Walden take tome for small screen turn

“Holes,” the bestselling young adult novel that was turned into a hit 2003 feature and more recently a stage play, is now being developed for the small screen.

The Hatchery and Walden Media, which plan to take the project to the broadcast networks in the next week, are reworking the Newberry Award-winning book into a half-hour single-camera comedy.

Book, penned by Louis Sachar, revolves around the young residents of a juvenile detention camp in Texas and in particular one boy who lands there after being wrongly accused of theft.

“Holes” is a reference to the large chunks of earth the kids are forced to dig by the camp’s warden.

“From the time I read the book, I thought it could be a TV series,” said Hatchery co-CEO Margaret Loesch. “It’s an incredible coming-of-age story, and a very popular book among youngsters and young adults, and on all of the reading lists at schools across the country.”

Loesch said the TV project would also have plenty of material to mine, as the movie only focused on a handful of the many characters found in the book.

The film version of “Holes,” starring Sigourney Weaver and Jon Voight, fetched $67 million at the domestic box office. Walden Media, which produced the film with Disney, first approached Loesch and the Hatchery’s Dan Angel (“Door to Door”) about serving as showrunners.

Instead, the Hatchery will produce with Walden Media. Loesch and the Hatchery’s other CEO, Bruce Stein, will serve as exec producers, along with Angel. Douglas Love also will be an exec producer, while Ronda Berkley is aboard as co-exec producer.

Loesch and Angel said they’re still scouting for a scribe to write the project and serve as showrunner; they hope to zero in on one by next week.

The Hatchery also is in talks with Magna Global Entertainment about partnering with the media-buying giant about partly or fully sponsoring the project.

The novel was first published in 1998; Sachar has a sequel in the works that is set for release next year. “Holes” also received a National Book Award and a Christopher Award and was named a notable children’s book of the year by both Publishers Weekly and the New York Times Book Review.

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