Lee will direct a drama pilot, formerly titled "M.O.N.Y.," about an unlikely candidate who becomes the mayor of New York City, the showbiz trade papers report. NBC has also lined up Gary Winick ("Charlotte's Web," "13 Going on 30") for the dramedy "Lipstick Jungle" and frequent "West Wing" helmer Alex Graves for the drama "Journeyman."
NBC announced last summer that it was would work with Lee to develop a drama series. That deal brought forth "NoLa," a drama about a cross-section of Crescent City residents putting their lives together following Hurricane Katrina.
The project eventually fell through, however. "It was an ambitious idea that we ultimately just couldn't [work out]," NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly said last week at the network's press tour day. "It was a very positive, good experience. It just didn't feel like we were seeing eye-to-eye on it, and we just agreed, 'Let's try it again. Let's try another one.'"
The mayor project, which comes from the "Homicide" team of Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, will be on familiar ground for Lee. The bulk of his films, including "Do the Right Thing," "Crooklyn" and last year's "Inside Man," have been set in New York.
"Lipstick Jungle," based on "Sex and the City" author Candace Bushnell's novel about female friends with high positions in New York's corporate world, will be the first TV project for Winick. His directing credits also include "Tadpole" and "The Tic Code."
Graves will direct fellow "West Wing" vet Kevin Falls' "Journeyman," about a man who travels back in time to try to fix people's problems; the duo will share executive producer credit. In addition to the White House drama, Graves has directed episodes of "The Practice," "Sports Night" and "The Nine."