FOX has given a series commitment to "Fringe," based on a sci-fi spec script by J.J. Abrams and regular collaborators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.
According to the industry trade papers, "Fringe" will now shoot a two-hour pilot budgeted in the $10-million range, a rather massive outlay putting it in the same neighborhood as the two-hour pilot for Abrams' "Lost."
The script was developed in the midst of pre-production on the Paramount reboot of the "Star Trek" franchise, which Abrams will direct from a script by Orci and Kurtzman. "Fringe" went out to networks early this week and FOX made a quick bid, which is also expected to include an episode license fee of around $2 million.
The show's main character is a young, female FBI agent (The Hollywood Reporter raises the possibility of Abrams' "Felicity" star Keri Russell as potential casting) who has to work with a brilliant research scientist and his estranged son as she explores unexplained phenomena.
The trade papers reference the quirky FOX landmark "The X-Files," early David Cronenberg films and Paddy Chayefsky's "Altered States" as major influences.
Abrams' Bad Robot shingle will produce through its deal with Warner Bros. TV. While Abrams and Bad Robot's recent offerings have included "Six Degrees" and "What About Brian," this would be his first pilot-writing credit since "Lost."
It was just announced yesterday that the Bad Robot script "Boundaries," from Jill Soloway, had received a put pilot commitment at ABC. Bad Robot is also developing a medical drama at HBO, with Abrams executive producing and possibly directing.
FOX Lands J.J. Abrams' 'Fringe' Benefit
'X-Files'-esque script will become a $10-million, two-hour pilot