HBO News Blog

Development Slate: THE LEFTOVERS and More in the Making

By Jef Dinsmore on Mar 4, 2013 to HBO News

There has been plenty of wheeling and dealing at HBO. There is, of course, no guarantee that anything reported here makes it to the channel but HBOWatch will keep a dev-logotrack of all of it and let you know what is in HBO’s future.


 HBO has now ordered a pilot to be shot of the 2011 novel written by Tom Perrotta entitled THE LEFTOVERS. He teams with Damon Lindelof as wleftoverse reported back in  06.30.12.  If HBO likes what they see in the pilot about the leftovers of society after the biblical Rapture occurs, then this work can go to series yet this year and possibly make it to HBO as early as mid-2014.

Since we can’t say anything about a production I can offer a bit about the novel starting with notable lists it made it on in 2011. It was called a New York Times Notable Book for 2011; a Washington Post Notable Fiction Book for 2011; a USA Today 10 Books We Loved Reading in 2011 and one of NPR’s 10 Best Novels of 2011.  Kirkus Reviews said “The novel is filled with those who have changed their lives radically or discovered something crucial about themselves, as radical upheaval generates a variety of coping mechanisms. Though the tone is more comic than tragic, it is mainly empathic, never drawing a distinction between “good” and “bad” characters, but recognizing all as merely human—ordinary people dealing with an extraordinary situation.” If you are intrigued here is an Amazon link to get you on your way.

The same offer holds today as was originally reported. If anyone has read the novel and wants to report on the source material and whether it is a good fit for HBO we would love to hear from you. If not, who knows, possibly down the line someone here at HBOWatch will read it and post about it. Either way, we won’t be left out when it comes to the story of those left over.


  • Duplass Brothers get a Pilot order

 Here is a producing team that knows about family. They are Mark and Jay Duplass and they are the minds behind TOGETHERNESS. HBO has ordered a pilot of this single-camera comedy by the siblings who have written, produced and will direct the episode.

Again, it is one of those deals where the concept and plot structure suits the HBO suits but they want to see a pilot before they commit.  The premise follows two couples living under the same roof, thus the togetherness, I guess, and how they make their lives, relationships, hopes and dreams work. The news site Deadline even goes as far enough to say that filming should start in April. So, it is a watch and wait game to see if anything further develops from it. Melanie Lynskey, from “Two and a half Men” was been the only actor linked as cast so far.

The brothers are not strangers to filmmaking as they have a number of indie credits to their name including the movie Cyrus; now they are interested in HBO. Good luck, guys.


  •  Shawn Ryan’s BADLANDS plans

 Here is a deal that surfaces for the first time on HBOWatch. Shawn Ryan, the man behind both FX’s “The Shield” and ABC’s “The Last Resort”, will steer a project called THE BADLANDS. His colleague on the venture, Ron Fitzgerald is writing scripts based on a story co-written with Rolin Jones. If this concept fleshes out nicely, Ryan, for Sony TV will bring a story of a mining town to HBO.

Don’t think this is going to be like DEADWOOD about a period backwater mining town back in the day. That is not the approach this plot has in mind. The story may be closer in vein with TREME as it focuses on the challenges and joys of love and family as seen in the blue-collar mining town of Tar River, Wyoming – in the heart of the badlands. It intends to reveal the town as it struggles through life during the latest economic hardships of this modern age.



 Here is anothesony_TVr morsel about yet another deal with Sony TV, this one written by David Hubbard. The screenwriter of TV-movie “Widow Detective” has created THE RETURN OF DANIEL SHEPERD to HBO’s liking. There are no particulars on the deal to say whether HBO picked it up just based on concept meetings or actually had their hands on scripts but they liked what was pitched.


The project tells the story of a young man returning home after thirteen years of being a missing person. Mystery surrounds the whole situation as his adductors are found murdered making him the prime suspect. It is a crime to be solved and missing years to be pieced together that drives the concept. The affected Shepherd family includes the patriarch who is a former FBI agent, a congresswoman for a mother and a fraternal twin brother.  As usual, more as it develops.


  • Jonathan Groff in Comedy Pilotjonathan_groff

Here is a concept without a title to hang on it but we will watch what happens with it anyway. It is all about some gay friends living under the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. The project is based on Michael Lannan’s LORIMER, which we reported on back in a 12.16.12 post.

Now Jonathan Groff, most recently seen on “Glee” and “Boss”, plays one in a trio living the gay scene in San Francisco, CA.  The complete cast has not been revealed or determined yet but Groff plays Patrick described as a gay man with a successful career as a video-game developer who is less successful in his personal life. Frankie Alvarez plays Augustin, listed as an artist’s assistant and Patrick’s best friend, who has a strong ego. Does it sound like the West Cost version of GIRLS? We’ll see.

That looks like a wrap for now. HBOWatch will keep you informed. Like any of these?

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