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NBC orders ‘Hannibal’ to series

Net also orders 'Notorious' pilot

NBC has ordered a drama concept based on Hannibal Lecter straight to series, proving the rapid decline of midseason series “The Firm” hasn’t dulled the network’s willingness to risk skipping the pilot stage.

Gaumont Intl. Television has sold 13 episodes of “Hannibal,” which will be executive produced by Bryan Fuller (“Pushing Daisies”) and Martha DeLaurentiis, a producer behind the films about the cannibal killer. Skein features the classic characters from Thomas Harris’ novel “Red Dragon,” FBI agent Will Graham and his mentor Dr. Lecter, who are re-introduced at the beginning of their budding relationship.

“Hannibal” will follow a similar business model as “Firm,” which Entertainment One secured a 22-episode commitment from NBC, in part because eOne offered a significantly reduced license fee made possible by international financing deals. But the savings come at the expense of putting a series through its paces via the traditional pilot model — a more expensive commitment for a much shorter term.

“Firm,” which ends its run on NBC this Saturday, proved a disappointment for the network, averaging a paltry 5.7 million total viewers and a 1.4/4 in the 18-49 demo.

Fuller is already at work on another series reinvention of an existing franchise, “The Munsters.” Now titled “Mockingbird Lane,” the series was pulled out of consideration for the fall schedule last week by NBC, which wants to devote more time to developing it with an eye for potential midseason release in 2013.

The network also ordered another drama pilot, “Notorious,” from Universal Television and BermanBraun. Series is an opulent soap in which a female detective returns undercover to the wealthy family she grew up in – -as the maid’s daughter–to solve the murder of the notorious heiress who was once her closest friend. Lloyd Braun, Gail Berman and Gene Stein are executive producers with Liz Heldens, who worked on NBC’s “Friday Night Lights.”