Purefoy circles NBC drama series

British actor James Purefoy looks on during a media brief in Snagov (30km north Bucharest) December 16, 2003. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - NBC is closing in on its “Philanthropist,” with actor James Purefoy in negotiations to play the lead in the midseason drama series.

“Philanthropist” centres on a renegade billionaire who uses his wealth, connections and power to help people in need no matter the risks or costs.

NBC brass had courted Purefoy for some time, including flying the “Rome” star from the U.K. to Los Angeles for a meeting.

The casting of the lead comes nearly a year after NBC gave the project a 13-episode series order and three months after the network put it on its 2008-09 schedule.

Earlier this year, Purefoy was attached to “The Saint,” an independently produced two-hour pilot based on the fictional detective; the project didn’t go forward.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter