NBC, ABC Go Pickup-Happy


The 2007-08 season is not even officially a week old, but ABC and NBC are already stockpiling projects for the future -- including a possible "Knight Rider" remake at the Peacock.

Each network has also given a series order to a drama project, and they're developing two different shows about young people striving to make it in showbiz.

NBC has secured Doug Liman ("Mr. and Mrs. Smith") to produce a new take on "Kinght Rider," the 1982-86 series that starred David Hasselhoff and a supercar named KITT. Variety reports that the project will take elements from "Transformers" -- i.e., KITT and other cars can change their shape -- and is being considered as a two-hour movie/back-door pilot to air sometime this season.

David Andron ("Raines") is writing the script, and Liman may direct, depending on his feature-film schedule (he's currently working on the movie "Jumper").

As for the series pickups: The trades report that ABC has committed to six episodes of "Section 8," a sci fi-tinged drama from writer-executive producers Zak Penn ("X-Men: The Last Stand") and Michael Karnow. Former network bosses Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun are also exec producers through their eponymous production company.

The show centers on a group of people with unusual mental abilities who work for a secret government agency. ABC won a bidding war over the project after sparking to a detailed pitch from Penn.

NBC has picked up "The Philanthropist," a drama from the "Homicide" and "Oz" team of Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson. It's about a billionaire who uses his wealth and resources to help people in need, often at great risk. Fontana will write the script and exec produce with Levinson and Charlie Corwin, on whose idea the show is based.

On the pilot front, ABC has ordered "Limelight," a drama about students at a performing-arts high school (think "Fame"). David Rosenthal ("Gilmore Girls") is writing the script and will exec produce with McG ("Chuck"), Leonard Goldberg and music producer Pharrell Williams, who attended a similar school in Virginia.

NBC's untitled project, which has a script order, tackles similar subject matter but with slightly older characters: young adults who scrabble along in day jobs while pursuing careers as actors, singers and musicians. It comes from scribe Robin Schiff ("Miss Match," "Grosse Pointe") and producers Bill Condon ("Dreamgirls") and Laurence Mark.

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