Spike Lee Sets Up Shop in 'NoLa'

EntertainmentTelevisionTelevision IndustrySpike Lee

Spike Lee, whose widely acclaimed Hurricane Katrina documentary "When the Levees Broke" aired last month on HBO, is returning to New Orleans for his next TV project.

Lee will executive produce a series called "NoLa" for NBC, which will follow the lives of a cross-section of New Orleans residents living with the devastation of their city by Katrina. Lee signed a development deal with NBC and NBC Universal TV earlier this year.

"It's a show about the city trying to rebuild itself and the people who are trying to put their lives together," the "Inside Man" and "Malcolm X" director tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Writer Sid Quashie will pen the pilot script for the show; if NBC Universal greenlights production of a pilot, Lee will direct it.

"NoLa" will film on location in the Big Easy, and Lee hopes to incorporate some of the more colorful characters from "When the Levees Broke" into the show as fictional versions of themselves. By using nonprofessionals in some roles and setting the story among the working-class residents of the city, Lee says he's paying homage to the neorealist films of directors like Roberto Rosselini and Vittorio De Sica.

Should "NoLa" make it onto NBC's schedule, it would be the first TV series in which Lee had ongoing involvement. He has directed episodes of The N's miniseries "Miracle's Boys" and the pilot of CBS' new drama "Shark."

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