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
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