July 1, 2009 / 5:28 AM / 10 years ago

"Gravity" takes off as ABC series

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - ABC is “Defying Gravity.” The network has picked up the 13-episode adventure drama starring Ron Livingston.

Ron Livingston answers questions during a panel discussion at the Television Critics Association summer media tour in Pasadena, California July 24, 2006. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

“Gravity,” whose cast includes Laura Harris, Christina Cox, Malik Yoba and Florentine Lahme, is set in the near future and revolves around eight astronauts from five countries who undertake a mysterious six-year mission through the solar system.

The internationally produced series — also set to air on Canada’s CTV, Germany’s ProSieben and the BBC — hails from familiar ABC contributors: creator/executive producer James Parriott, who served as an executive producer on ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Ugly Betty,” and executive producer Michael Edelstein, former executive producer of the network’s “Desperate Housewives.”

Slated to air on ABC this summer, the show is a co-venture of Fox TV Studios (FtvS) and Vancouver-based Omni Film Prods., whose Brian Hamilton and Michael Chechik also executive produce.

Along with “Mental” and “Persons Unknown,” “Gravity” is one of three drama series that FtvS produced independently with international partners in the past year. It’s the second, after “Mental,” to land a U.S. distributor and the first to go somewhere other than a Fox-affiliated network.

FtvS is in advanced talks with cable networks for “Persons,” with a sale expected during the next couple of weeks.

Unlike “Persons” and “Mental,” which were existing pilot scripts at FtvS originally developed for other networks, “Gravity” was developed specifically for the company’s international producing model.

“We’re excited about being pioneers in doing television a different way,” said Edelstein, who got the ball rolling on the project more than three years ago when he caught a repeat, on Discovery Channel, of the BBC docudrama “Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets,” about an international crew of astronauts on a trip through space.

He acquired the rights to it from British producer Impossible Pictures and approached Parriott, with whom he worked on ABC’s drama “Threat Matrix.”

If “Gravity” does well on ABC and FtvS’ foreign broadcast partners, Parriott and Edelstein hope to do more seasons of the show.

“I have the first three seasons blocked out, and I know the ending of the series,” Parriott said.

Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters

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