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NBC greenlights Green’s ‘Kings’

Francis Lawrence to direct drama pilot

NBC has greenlit production on “Kings,” a modern retelling of the King David story penned by Michael Green (“Heroes”) and directed by Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend”).

Project, from Universal Media Studios, was developed at the Peacock last year under Katherine Pope, the UMS prexy who ran development for the network at the time. Then-entertainment prexy Kevin Reilly passed on the script, however.

But current NBC entertainment co-chair Ben Silverman took to the idea and, following some polishing by Green, decided to go straight to pilot.

“It’s a really great hook and an incredible mythic story,” Silverman told Daily Variety, adding that the script was “brilliantly written.” People familiar with the script said “Kings” could work well as a companion to “Heroes.”

Green and Lawrence will serve as exec producers, as will 3 Arts Entertainment’s Erwin Stoff.

“Kings” will be set in a modern metropolis that’s a sort of meta-New York City (think Gotham City but not as dark). City will be the center of a kingdom financed by a wealthy entrepreneur who’s benefited from the constant state of war in the kingdom.

First-season plot will have a young solider catapulting to fame via a heroic act that pits him as a David vs. a much stronger Goliath. He’ll ultimately end up running the kingdom.

“For me, it’s a chance to do a contemporary retelling of a story that’s very much part of our cultural DNA, and that’s hopefully neither red state nor blue state,” Green said.

He said that the pilot also has elements of “new blood taking over for old power,” with his hero having elements of a young Bill Clinton or John F. Kennedy.

“Somewhere in the back of my head, this has a little bit to do with the upcoming election,” Green added.

Scribe, who started his career on the first season of “Sex and the City,” is currently co-writing the upcoming feature take on “Green Lantern” with Greg Berlanti. Green — who has an overall deal with UMS — has been on “Heroes” since its first season, and he’s also served stints on “Smallville” and “Cupid.”

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