Steven Spielberg is devoting more attention to TV this season, taking an active role in the development of two projects set up at Fox.
Ed Burns and wife Christy Turling-ton are attached to write a drama set in the fashion world and based on an idea of Spielberg’s; second project, from scribe Scott Gemmill, is an actioner focused on time travel.
Both hourlong entries come from 20th Century Fox TV, as well as Spielberg’s DreamWorks TV label. DreamWorks TV toppers Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank are exec producers as well.
Falvey and Frank note Spielberg’s TV resume is lengthier than most believe. Series such as “ER,” “Boom-town” and “Animaniacs” have carried a Spielberg imprint; he also has been behind countless longform projects, from “Band of Brothers” to “Into the West.”
Most recently, Spielberg an-nounced last week that he and DreamWorks TV would team with TNT to produce a six-hour miniseries based on Stephen King-Peter Straub novel “The Talisman” (Daily Variety, Dec. 6).
“He’s always been very involved with our business,” Frank said. “He started in TV, loves the medium and appreciates that there are certain stories that are right for TV and certain stories right for film.”
DreamWorks TV has a first-look deal with NBC Universal, but Spiel-berg is not included in that pact.
Spielberg came up with the concept for the untitled Burns project after attending New York’s fashion week. Storyline revolves around five twenty-somethings with fashion jobs such as photographer, designer, makeup artist and model.
Spielberg specifically sought out Burns (who appeared in his “Saving Private Ryan”) and Turlington — close friends of his — to handle the project.
“There’s a phenomenal partnership here in terms of this project,” Falvey said. “Ed brings real character and a relatability to it, while (Turlington’s) experience as a model is invaluable. She brings this expertise and insider’s knowledge to it.”
Burns and Turlington will exec produce with Falvey and Frank. If the show goes to pilot, Burns is aboard to direct.
Burns’ TV credits include NBC laffer “The Fighting Fitzgeralds.”
As for the Gemmill project, time-travel drama has a romantic storyline at its core.
According to Gemmill, Spielberg had expressed an interest in working on a TV project with time-travel themes; 20th tapped Gemmill, who has a deal at the studio, to come up with the concept.
“The mechanics of (a time-travel storyline) can be difficult, but there are a lot of possibilities — and we’re on the same wavelength,” Gemmill said.
Untitled show will revolve around two young American physicists in WWII who discover a way to pinch time and travel to the future. They wind up hopping between 2007 and the 1940s in order to aid the war effort — but in the process begin to upset the space-time continuum.
Along the way, one of the physi-cists also enlists a woman in 2007 to help him adjust to culture shock, and the two develop a relationship.
Gemmill “did his homework and nailed the concept, finding a way to create serialized storylines and self-contained episodes,” Frank said.
Having exec produced “Back to the Future” and its sequels, Spielberg’s also at work on a documentary on time travel.
Gemmill’s also a familiar name to Spielberg, having spent several years (including a lengthy stint as exec producer) on “ER,” which Spielberg’s Amblin Television shingle produces.
Gemmill will exec produce with Falvey and Frank. Spielberg reserves the right to add his name as an exec producer to both projects, but he won’t make that decision until later.