Development Slate: Rowling, Bigelow, Israeli Drama & More

dev-logoEven if you think HBO seems to have a full slate for 2016 that doesn’t mean it can take it easy. It is a highly competitive market out there for entertainment content and evidence of that includes the Media pitting HBO & Netflix against each other. HBO needs to keep at it and below is its evidence that it is doing just that. All this aggressive maneuvering makes it worthwhile for the fans for sure. Take a look at some of the latest developments. We begin with…


  • JK Rowling returning to HBO?

The U. K.’s BBC is definitely ramping up another production from Harry Potter scribe JK Rowling and this time it is THE CORMORAN STRIKE MYSTERIES. HBO is said to be co-producing the production in a deal similar to the one struck for Rowling’s THE CASUAL VACANCY.

CormoranStrike_BooksThe latest work is based on Cormoran Strike novels that Rowling wrote under the pen name of Robert Galbraith. One description states the work is –

described as being “steeped in the atmosphere of contemporary London” and follows war veteran turned private detective Cormoran Strike who investigates shocking crimes together with his female assistant Robin, whose forensic mind and fierce determination he cannot ignore. The murders take them from the hushed streets of Mayfair to the literary haunts of Fitzrovia, exposing the seedy reality lurking beneath seemingly innocent societies. With each crime, they discover a little more about each other and both learn that appearances can be deceptive.

The drama series, which is eyed for a 2016 premiere, is based on the first two Cormoran Strike novels, “The Cuckoo’s Calling” and “The Silkworm.” Note that that is a 2016 premiere for its BBC broadcast. It likely won’t see HBO until early 2017 making a similar situation as what happened with PARADE’S END, a previous co-production that aired in the U. K. months before it aired here on HBO.

(Source: TVWise


  • Kathryn Bigelow Developing Topical DramaPeople_-KathrynBigelow-290x300

The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow (pictured)  is embarking on the daring and bold topic of Jihadi recruitment. She will serve as overseeing executive producer for the concept which –

aims to “draw open an iron curtain behind which viewers will see the highly impenetrable world of Jihadi recruitment.” The series will take place in Minnesota, which happens to be one of the leading jihadist recruitment areas in the United States.

K’naan Warsame, a rapper/poet, has impressed her enough evidently to sign him on as not only as writer but as potential director if a pilot is greenlit. It is hoped to be fleshed out as a full drama series and though we don’t know much now about this concept it already proves to be a powerful, topical and controversial issue that we hope comes to fruition for Bigelow, HBO and us.

(Source: Collider)


  • HBO Adapting Israeli Drama

The American version of the Israeli drama Nevelot is entitled BASTARDS and HBO has put it into development.

DescribedNevelot as a thriller with dark comedic overtones, it follows two elderly Vietnam vets in contemporary Miami, whose resentment of today’s entitled youth causes a small act of self-defense to snowball into something much bigger.

Again this is another concept with very few details. We do know that it is the first dramatic venture for   Adama Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions and Alan Poul’s Boku Films and is being adapted for the U. S. by playwright Branden Jacobs Jenkins. Poul, who has a development deal with HBO, brought the concept to the network’s attention and he is likely to direct.

The source material was an Israeli miniseries; the word ‘nevelot’ is Hebrew for ‘bastards.’ The graphic attached here is the title of that Israeli version. That piece followed two elderly Palmach vets (underground Jewish army during the British Mandate) who set out on a killing spree in Tel Aviv. It was based on the late Yoram Kaniuk’s novella, “Vultures & Dead Flesh.”  We will wait and see if the U. S. version makes it to air.   

(Source: Deadline &  Israel21c)


  • Cancer Survivor Comedy PossiblePeople_HowieDeutch-202x300

WHEN I’M SIXTY-FOUR is termed a half-hour dramedy about facing life after cancer remission and HBO just might give it a spot on the schedule.

The story centers on Paul Beaumont, a narcissistic New Yorker who’s given an unexpected reprieve from terminal cancer and now faces an existential reckoning with himself as well as the family, friends and career wreckage he had hoped to leave behind.

Working on the concept is Howie Deutch (pictured), another producer who has a development deal with the network. In fact, he is no stranger to HBO as he has directed episodes of BIG LOVE, HUNG and GETTING ON ans is currently working on producing Cinemax’s OUTCAST. The idea for this survivor story comes from Jeff Roda who just came off of The Unauthorized Beverly Hills, 90210 Story. Since Deutch has a long record with HBO this one just might make it to screen in 2017.  

(Source: Deadline


  • DEEP S. I. X. from Getting’ Rad Productions

Think The X-Files mixed with Ghostbusters and you might have DEEP S. I. X, but it is too soon to say. Getting’ Rad, comprised of the husband and wife team of Adam People_AdamNaomiScott-200x300and Naomi Scott (pictured), are developing this concept for the network Anthony King (Wet Hot American Summer) is penning the series. It premise states it –

follows a rag-tag Homeland security team that no one believes in as they investigate paranormal threats that no one believes in.

We might believe in it if it ever comes to HBO.

(Source: Deadline)



  • Playwright Robert Askins Developing BROTHERHOODPeople_RobertAskins-150x150

Right off of his hot Broadway hit Hand to God Robert Askins  (pictured)is in development of a college campus comedy for HBO. It is stated that the work –

takes place at the largest Baptist university in the world where a young man joins a secret organization that has two goals: party harder than anyone else and write the funniest, most incisive campus humor magazine in history.

Apparently, there was a bit of competition out there for this project with HBO snagging first looks which Askins will write and produce. Think of it as Animal House romp at a conservative college where the brotherhood wreaks havoc over the status quo. It sounds like it could be fun if it happens.

(The Hollywood Reporter)


  • Meryl Poster’s Superb Deal

People_MerylPoster-150x150Superb Entertainment, a new production house set up by the Weinstein Co.’s former TV president Meryl Poster has plenty of projects in mind including one for HBO. It is entitled TRIANGLE BELOW CANAL. It is the first project Poster has sold through Superb Entertainment based on a spec script she came across, penned by up-and-coming writer Nathalie Prisco. This work is a female-centric half-hour comedy that explores the plight of frustrated married young mothers in New York. Poster executive produces, while Prisco is a co-executive producer.

(Source: Deadline)


  • Common First Look DealPeople_Common-150x150

The entertainer/writer/actor Common has a two-year first-look deal with HBO via his Freedom Road Productions. There is no specific production earmarked at this time either for himself to star in or to produce. We will keep track of whether anything comes of it.

(Source: Deadline)


HBO is always looking. The majority of projects seem to fall by the wayside, but you never can tell just which ones will blossom as content on the network. HBOWatch will continue to monitor the slate of potentials and keep fans updated thoughout the coming year.

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