Fox TV Studios has nabbed the TV rights to “The Devil Wears Prada” and is developing it as a series project for sister net Fox.
Robin Schiff (“Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion”) will write and exec produce the half-hour single-camera laffer, which has been a passion project for FTVS prexy Angela Shapiro-Mathes.
Shapiro-Mathes said she’s been tracking the title since its publication as a novel. She continued her pursuit while the project was in development as a Fox feature, staying in touch with Fox Filmed Entertainment topper Jim Gianopulos.
At one point, Fox TV Studios even mulled a semi-scripted take on the concept.
While the TV take on “Prada” will incorporate elements of the film, “I’m not looking to directly translate the movie into a TV show,” Shapiro-Mathes said.
“That becomes a mistake,” she explained. “The TV series will not be exactly like (the movie or the book). The reason you loved the book and the reason you loved the movie was these were characters you really cared about in a world you wanted to learn more about.”
“Prada” helmer David Frankel will not be involved in the new project, nor will original scribe Lauren Weisberger.
Shapiro-Mathes said she believed “Prada’s” core relationship — between the tough-as-nails fashion magazine editor and her novice assistant — was tailor-made for a character-driven TV series.
“You can’t read that book and not feel that the two characters are ones that you want to keep following,” she said. “It’s something you can get really passionate about.”
The exec warns against focusing too much on the show’s fashionista setting, although she notes that TV is currently intrigued by the world (thanks to shows like “Project Runway”).
“It’s a little bit about the zeitgeist, but when is fashion not in the zeitgeist?” she said. “Fashion is an aspirational, glamorous world that’s always fun to look in on.”
Possibility of a “Devil Wears Prada” series comes just as ABC finds success with its frosh hourlong “Ugly Betty,” which also takes place in the world of fashion mags.
Shapiro-Mathes said she’s not concerned about “Betty’s” “Prada”-like plot. If anything, the success of “Betty” could help get the TV version of “Prada” on the air.
“We’re not going to be afraid of ‘Ugly Betty,'” she said. “It’s good to see a show like that doing that well.”
Since its release this summer, “Prada” has grossed $124 million domestically.
Schiff, who’s repped by ICM, most recently served as exec producer of “Emily’s Reasons Why Not.” Her other TV credits include “Miss/Match” and “Grosse Pointe.”