LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - It might be called "Fringe," but this script was smack in the center of every network's radar screen for the past several months.
After a heated bidding, Fox Broadcasting landed the sci-fi spec by "Lost" executive producer J.J. Abrams, and "Transformers" scribes Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. The network has been trying for years to develop a successor to its hit sci-fi drama "The X-Files."
No one would comment on the terms of the deal, but sources said it includes a budget for the two-hour pilot close to $10 million -- the ballpark of Abrams' two-hour pilot for "Lost."
"Fringe" centers on a young female FBI agent who, forced to confront the spread of powerful and unexplained phenomena, must work with an institutionalized scientist whose life's work may be at the center of the coming storm.
"Science is frightening and enlightening at the same time," Orci said. "It can give you everything, and it can destroy you."
The industry circles have been buzzing all summer about the top-secret spec script that Abrams was writing with Kurtzman and Orci. It marked the first TV writing duties for Abrams in more than three years, since ABC's "Lost," as well as the return to television of Kurtzman and Orci, one of the hottest feature writing teams at the moment.
Warner Bros. TV, where Abrams' Bad Robot production company is based, sent out the script to the networks Monday night. By Tuesday morning, Fox's entertainment chairman Peter Liguori and president Kevin Reilly had read it.
"It was exactly what we hoped for," Reilly said. "There is a track record of this type of show working on Fox, and these creators have proven themselves with this type of material."
Casting on the two-hour pilot is expected to begin shortly, with production slated to wrap by year's end.
Kurtzman and Orci first worked with Abrams on "Alias," his drama for ABC, and went on to write "Mission: Impossible III" with him. They also penned Abrams' upcoming movie "Star Trek." In fact, it was between production meetings on "Trek" that "Fringe" was born and written.
"We took all the elements we love about genres such as horror and adventure and gave it an emotional center," Kurtzman said.