BBC, HBO seek ‘Justice’

Steven Zaillian, Richard Price attached to project

BBC Worldwide Prods. and HBO are developing a 10-part version of the pubcaster’s hit legal drama “Criminal Justice,” with scribes Steven Zaillian and Richard Price attached.

As part of a drive to secure a scripted success for the Los Angeles-based operation, BBC Worldwide has also sold “Mirrorball,” a New York-based drama set in the disco era, and a reworking of ancient Rome skein “I, Claudius” to U.S. partners.

Jane Tranter, who runs BBC Worldwide Prods., told the Financial Times that Worldwide had sold more than 20 dramas to U.S. webs, mostly cable nets. She said, “I’m relentlessly optimistic that out of 20 pieces…we should be making at least 12 of them.”

Also in development are another project with HBO, the Trent Reznor-created sci-fi drama “Year Zero”; an adaptation of Amanda Foreman’s book “A World on Fire,” set during the American Civil War; and 17 unscripted shows.

Tranter said, “There’s this British obsession that American dramas are better than British ones. But American cable companies love our dramas.”

BBC Worldwide’s collaboration with Starz on “Doctor Who” spinoff “Torchwood: Miracle Day,” which bows in the U.S. this summer, was described by Tranter as “the most complicated co-production in the history of the world.”