Fox Axes Drama ‘Hieroglyph’ Before Premiere

Cast of Fox's Hieroglyph" includes Antony

Fox has decided to table drama series “Hieroglyph,” which had been given a series order for the 2014-15 season.

The sprawling action-adventure drama set in ancient Egyptian times hailed from scribe Travis Beacham, Chernin Entertainment and 20th Century Fox TV. Anna Fricke, formerly with Syfy’s “Being Human,” had signed on as showrunner and exec producer.

“Hieroglyph” was developed under Fox’s new approach to drama series development under a straight to series order model. But the additional scripts that were coming in after the formal series order were underwhelming and the network decided to pull the plug before it got in much deeper on the costume drama. The first episode was shot in Los Angeles and New Mexico in the spring.

Fox had yet to set a formal premiere date beyond designating it as a midseason entry.

The decision likely reflects some rethinking of Fox’s slate in the wake of Kevin Reilly’s departure earlier this month as entertainment chairman. There’s been no word yet on a successor but speculation has centered on 20th Century Fox TV chiefs Dana Walden and Gary Newman gaining additional oversight of Fox Broadcasting Co.

Fox declined comment. Although “Hieroglyph” didn’t go the distance. Fox is still banking on its new approach of developing multiple scripts and series prototypes rather than traditional pilots in many cases in an effort to make better use of its programming R&D overall.

“Hieroglyph” starred Max Brown, Kelsey Chow, Caroline Ford, Condola Rashad, John Rhys-Davies and Reece Ritchie in a “Da Vinci Code”-esque romp revolving around the hunt for an ancient scroll.


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  1. Dinah's Friend says:

    Well, obviously the pharaoh in the photo is mixed race. Look at his face and arms. Now look at his stomach.

  2. Lanceindc says:

    Ancient Egypt real name Kemet was a black civilization! Did people forget that the country is in Africa? Don’t give me the Middle East bs there is no such thing. Middle from what, where’s the middle west, north, south. It was a canned because Africans-black people spoke up! Hollywood must stop the whitewashing of Ancient Africa!

  3. FOX probably got cold feet due to past experiences…. remember Cleopatra? But on another note, the race bending that Hollywood continues to practice has to stop. Is it too much to ask that if you are going to do a production about ancient Egypt that you hire, well, actual Egyptians?

  4. None of those characters sans the Black lady and possible the dude on the left look passable in terms of what was in that region so I’m glad it never aired.

  5. Vince says:

    Something that looked very good for once and those jackasses blew it

  6. sara says:

    Just another example of the brilliance of Reilly’s leadership. How much did this little adventure in MEH cost them? Oh well, two more episodes of 24 and then I’m back to Netflix and Amazon Prime.

  7. I WOULD HAVE SO WATCHED THIS!! What on Earth are they thinking….SOS on this one! Netflix people now is your chance!

  8. Bruddah Nui says:

    If Fox canned it because of political reasons it’s a disappointment. I’ll take their word it was canned because of poor scripts.

    • VK says:

      What political reasons? The show is a fantasy set in ancient Egypt which has nothing to do with modern Middle Eastern politics. And I’ve read the pilot script — it was badly written. Stop trying to use this as some kind “Muslims are taking over Hollywood” rant. Watch “Tyrant” if you want to see how much influence Muslims have over the depiction of their culture in Hollywood — NONE.

      • Omar bir-Yilan says:

        Internal politics. at Fox. From the people who want to dump over the previous administration (Reilly)’s selections and feel no desire to have the shows they didn’t have a hand in succeed. Now un-knot your panties.

  9. VK says:

    As a poster below noted, the series takes place in ANCIENT Egypt which is thousands of years before Islam. In any event, Egyptian Muslims are proud of their ancestral heritage and have built a thriving tourist industry on pre-Islamic pharaonic culture. And as for your suggestions that Muslims have any power at all in Hollywood to influence what shows get on the air, “Tyrant” proves that this remains a very anti-Muslim town and Muslim opinion means squat.

  10. Sean says:

    Isn’t it pretty common to can a show before it is aired? They’re called pilots; 9 out of 10 pilots never air.

    • VK says:

      This show was greenlit to series, not just a pilot. The pilot was filmed and they were writing scripts for the rest of the season when it was suddenly cancelled. Pretty remarkable situation.

      • F.C Moreno says:

        Just re-read what was said, “the additional scripts coming that were coming in… were underwhelming.” That’s not uncommon in this industry and this series looked to be expensive productions. Better now then later.

  11. LanceH says:

    What up with the lilly-white cast? You can’t find Egyptian actors? That’s puts me off right there. Lemme guess, they’ll all have faux-british or California accents.

    • Alphagrey says:

      There was “something” about the cast picture, but I couldn’t quite figure it out. You nailed it on the head. The cast is “mis-cast”.

      • Pinky says:

        @RoreyRockg Talk about race baiter! Yes, Caucasians came “later” into Egypt. But don’t be a doofus and try to imply that the more ancient Pharaohs weren’t Nubian/of Black African descent (just because a few found in “pristine condition” were Caucasoid). AND the Egyptians also intermarried (though much of the royalty kept their lineage “clean,” as seems to be the case in most royal families throughout history, despite time or place). So we’re not going to go there with you. (Also, remember the more recent depiction some scientists created of King Tut? They gave him “Middle Eastern” features, which happens to be more of a blend of African and whatever else. And they’ll likely have to modify that as well as time passes and bigots pass on.) P.S. Cornrows.

      • RoreyRockg says:

        Always a race baiting troll for every situation ~ BTW- just in case facts matter to you, DNA tests on the ancient Pharos found in pristine condition were 100% Eurasian –

  12. Sparky6438 says:

    HBO canceled a great series, ROME, after 2005-07. It sounds like Fox is following the trend of quality programming loses out to what the young pop culture watches, the reality shows.

    • Kay says:

      @RoreyRockg, Ah, no they were NOT Eurasian at all. DNA shows Ramses to be brown skinned as were all but 1 mummy found to date in Ancient Kemet/Egypt. The closest DNA matches to the mummies in modern times are found in sub Saharan Africa, A 20% match in the West and a match of about 70% in the East, which means that Egyptians of that time resembled modern Ethiopians more than anyone. They were black. That said, I doubt that has anything to do with the cancellation of this show.

    • Lucille says:

      Nonsense….Europe wasn’t even in existence during that ancient time…and Egypt is on the African continent. Sorry….but true. That’s not race baiting…that’s just fact stating!!!

      • George says:

        Really? Rome didn’t exist? How in the world could Caesar have invaded Egypt then?
        And if Europe didn’t exist, where did all the bad guys that sacked Rome come from? Not to mention Hadrian’s wall…… In ENGLAND…..

        Might want to brush up on that history thing a little bit more……

  13. John Rhys-Davies says:

    I enjoyed being part of this. Great potential, smart, thoughtful young writers, and a good team to work with. Probably a very pricey show to do. My good wishes to you all!
    A couple of corrections; the director was the excellent Miguel Sapochnik, not the delightful Anna Fricke and I am John (not Jonathan) Rhys-Davies.

    • George Smith says:

      When Rome came into existence Egypt was already in decline dude to invasion beginning in the 16th century bce. Lybians, Hyksos (which was was just anther name for foreigner similar to saying barbarian), Persians, Hittites, Assyrians, Greeks not in order invade Egypt and rule for a period before there was a Rome. Europe was a Rome. Europe came about dude to the challenges of Roman conquest. Europe was full of scattered tribes who Cicero called vile and so dumb that they wouldn’t even make good slaves. Rome occupation and subjugation of those barbarians brought order and structure.

      The true name for Egypt was Ta-Meri. Kemet was a name describing the land by agriculturist originally then others describing the color of the soil that washed up during the flooding of the Nile. Egypt said where they come. They said the come from the foothills of the mountain of the moon where the God Hapi dwelled. The is modern day Mount Kilimanjaro and Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya. Read the 12 volume work by Gerald Massey Egypt the Light of the World, Read When Egypt Rule the East and there are many works if anyone else is interested in fact and truth. The ancient Ta-Merians were African people.

      Herodotus said the Egypto and the ethiopian comes from the same stock. So you know what white people tried to do? They tried to say Ethiopians were dark skin Caucasians. Or they claim that true Africans only have big lips dark skin and flat noses. That is an African but Africans also have thin noses and they 100% Africans. Some have straight hair. Some have elongated faces. But by know mean are the white or Caucasion or whatever those people are called. European has some sort of psychological issues when it comes to making up things. They see something valuable, coopt it, take it over, and years later they say they created it. they would go as far to even change the color of the images the native people left behind. It pure madness!! But the norm for them. When Europeans cannot prove they did it the would rather give the credit to someone else rather to an African.

      They are still trying to take Egypt out of Africa or separate North Africa from some! Pure madness!! The Arab in Egypt today is as Egyptian as European here in American are Native Americans. Your Psychology is to control, to kill, to revise. Then build a museum or turn other people’s history into mascots. They try to discredit anyone the doesn’t speak their false truth. It’s pretty sad when you think about it. They would say look that mummy got red hair. But do they know you can get the recessive from the dominant. Do the know that the black women has the genes in her and only her to produce any “race” on this plane?.

      Dependent on diet and environment they can mutate to adapt. They can birth a child with activated genes that will allow them to survive that environment better than their mom. Ta-Meri, Carthage, Phenicia, Mesopotamia, Xia and Shiang dynasties, Ireland, Britain, America etc…. WERE ALL ORGINALLY BLACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Excuse my factual Ramble.

    • And we love you in everything you do John.

  14. CommonSense says:

    Wow. With all the REAL intrigue of the Old and New Kingdom, all the drama and family dysfunction, they could not come up with compelling scripts? The real history is more convoluted than Game of Thrones!

    Thutmose the Second had issues because his mother would not give up the throne, then went to war repeatedly.

    Akhenaten tried to fire all the politically powerful Priests of Amun and create his own monotheistic religion, built his own city, that flopped, and then the next generation, Tutankamun, was surrounded by political intrigue in his short life, including a General Ay who may have wanted the throne for himself or someone else.

    And they couldn’t write a story around the stories we know, that were recorded?

  15. srvwp2013 says:

    Could it be that with the Corporate Suite merry-go-round that has been re-making Hollywood corner offices in these past several months, we actually have some common sense thinkers running studio conglomerates? The next step is to clean house with these new brooms (if not raze the writers bungalows altogether) and get rid of the brainless, drug-addled frat boys and sorority girls who being overpaid and underworked in the “creation” of these “underwhelming” scripts. The corner office people must continue to wake up and see that they are wasting salary, benefits, time, resources, etc. on couch potatoes and people who could not get a job sweeping the streets of San Francisco. . .or Cairo.

  16. peter says:

    Fox should stick with the Greco-Roman Era. Can’t offend anyone there.

  17. Attillathehunny says:

    My guess is that it would have in some convoluted way, offended Muslims.

    • How can it offend the Muslims, when there were no Muslims or people that looked like the present day occupants of Egypt in ancient times. The Muslims arrived in Egypt in the 7th Century AD.

  18. sailordude says:

    Smart move Fox. Get out before you are totally F’d.

  19. Adrienne M says:

    If the new scripts were underwhelming, they must have been awful. Most of what makes it to air is pretty bad.

  20. byeGeorge says:

    A good soap opera for HBO…the soap opera network…

  21. William DeLashmutt says:

    LOL. Doesn’t exactly look like a typical Egyptian family does it?

  22. robRmh says:

    I’m pleased to see nothing promoting Egypt at this time, while Journalist’s are imprisoned without cause for 7 years.

  23. ken says:

    Fox or some other network should consider brodcasting poker games and tournaments 24/7. Id be more than happy to share my ideas with someone who makes those decisions.

  24. WhatDifferenceDoesItMake says:

    Makes sense. I heard the Muslim critics were more up in arms about this than they were the video they were reviewing at Benghazi.

    • VK says:

      You heard nothing of the sort. Muslims don’t care about this show. It has nothing to do with them, being set several thousand years before Islam.

  25. Patti Podesta says:

    Directed by Miguel Sapochnik, shot in New Mexico and Morocco

  26. Diane says:

    Wow, it didn’t even make it to TV. It must have been really bad. Could the scripts been worse than Dads ?

  27. chris long says:

    T&A in ancient Egypt, eh?

    • Kate in Las Vegas says:

      Souinds more Dallas/Dynasty in Ancient Egypt. Why not just hire other scriptwriters and a comsulting Egyptian historian?

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