John Wells Drama Based On ‘Outbreak’ Movie Goes To NBC With Pilot Production Commitment

EXCLUSIVE: Former ER executive producers John Wells and Jack Orman are reuniting with NBC for a new high-profile medical drama project. The network has given a pilot production commitment to Outbreak, an hourlong series based on the hit 1995 Warner Bros feature directed by Wolfgang Petersen and starring Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman and Rene Russo (check out the trailer below for a refresher). This marks one of the biggest commitments to a drama project so far this development cycle.

Co-written by Wells and Orman, Outbreak is described as a medical thriller that follows an ensemble of characters as they race to contain a lethal virus before it becomes a global pandemic. Warner Bros TV and studio-based John Wells Prods are producing, with Wells, Orman and JWP’s Andrew Stearn executive producing. I hear Gail Katz, who was a producer on the movie, also is expected to be involved in some producing capacity. This marks Wells’ first co-writing stint since another adaptation, Shameless, which continues its successful run on Showtime. Released in March 1995, Outbreak spent three weekends atop the boxoffice en route to grossing $190 million on a $50 million budget. Wells and Orman are with CAA.

Comments (24)

  • This actually feels older than an idea based on some film from the 40′s. It was a middling success in the 90′s as a movie and now, with so many high concept films and ideas with the same kind of maguffin having been done since, it just feels lazy and derivative. Come on John Wells of China Beach and ER and Southland and so much more. Nothing more insightful about the world you are privileged to live in?

    Comment by AC — Tuesday August 27, 2013 @ 5:02pm PDT  
    • Actually, Outbreak was based off of a book if I am not mistaken. I love the movie and the book and just because you may not be interested does not mean that it will not be successful.

      Comment by CJ — Wednesday August 28, 2013 @ 2:00am PDT  
  • First 12 Monkeys, now this.. Leave all my best sci fi movies alone!!

    Comment by The Year 1995 — Tuesday August 27, 2013 @ 5:05pm PDT  
  • Anyone left from Showtime who hasn’t got an NBC pilot?

    I like the concept but it won’t stretch to 22 episodes. Would make for an interesting cable drama. In particular, it sounds like it would be a good fit with Homeland.

    Comment by Oliver — Tuesday August 27, 2013 @ 5:21pm PDT  
  • Well, after NBC’s overwhelming success with new takes on Wonder Woman, The Munsters, The Firm, and Hannibal, who can blame them for taking a crack at this one?

    Comment by JKL — Tuesday August 27, 2013 @ 5:40pm PDT  
    • Exactly.

      Comment by Charles Garway — Tuesday August 27, 2013 @ 8:48pm PDT  
  • I AM IN!!

    Comment by tvcasualy — Tuesday August 27, 2013 @ 5:42pm PDT  
  • CONTAGION was much better, they should adapt that to TV instead. I mean only because remakes seem to be so contagious.

    Comment by Contagious — Tuesday August 27, 2013 @ 6:14pm PDT  
  • Aren’t there any original ideas at the networks. No wonder they continue to lose ground to cable, Netflix etc.

    Comment by EK — Tuesday August 27, 2013 @ 6:14pm PDT  
    • Netflix is House of Remakes. They haven’t done anything original. They’re actually worse than the networks when it comes to creativity.

      Comment by Rena Moretti — Wednesday August 28, 2013 @ 5:46pm PDT  
  • The originality coming out of Hollywood these days is just mindblowing.

    Comment by yawn — Tuesday August 27, 2013 @ 7:26pm PDT  
  • Speaking of Wolfgang Petersen…

    So uh, he’s retired, I suppose?

    And yeah, no. This project…um, no.

    Comment by Rogers — Tuesday August 27, 2013 @ 7:50pm PDT  
  • JKL,how could you forget their other smash reboot hits Knight Rider & Bionic Woman. :)

    Comment by Retread City — Tuesday August 27, 2013 @ 7:54pm PDT  
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