With the failure of "The Firm," NBC wants to pay extra special attention to the "Munsters" remake, "Mockingbird Lane." But apparently its series focused on Hannibal Lecter made famous by "Silence of the Lambs" is good to go, even before a pilot is shot.
"Hannibal," from "Mockingbird Lane" developer Bryan Fuller, received a series pickup on Tuesday, and could be ready as early as fall for NBC. Not a single role has been cast, and little information had been released about the project in the past. But now it appears that the story will be more closely associated with "Red Dragon," the book that was most recently adapted into a 2002 film that starred Anthony Hopkins as Lecter and Edward Norton as Will Graham.
The series will not feature Clarice Starling, who was played Jodie Foster, who won an Oscar for her role along with Hopkins. Starling's appearance in "Silence of the Lambs" comes later in the story from novelist Thomas Harris, while Graham and "Red Dragon" was considered more of a prequel, featuring when Lecter was first captured.
Ordering a concept to series without seeing a pilot may save money by not producing a trial episode, but only of the series itself becomes a success. It's hard not to compare "Hannibal" to another popular concept from the 1990s, "The Firm." However, circumstances are a bit different.
For "The Firm," NBC simply picked up the show from another production company and distributor that was prepping the series for foreign release. That series, however, lasted only six episodes in regular primetime slots on NBC, and was booted to Saturdays earlier this month after averaging a 2.4 rating/4 share in Fast National overnight ratings from The Nielsen Co. Through the end of January, it was NBC's No. 11 show, and was ranked No. 74 overall.
NBC was simply buying episodes already complete and then putting them on air. Its decision to not renew the show does not necessarily mean there won't be a second season of "The Firm" elsewhere. But cutting out a primary market like the United States could hurt prospects for the show.
For "Hannibal," NBC will have much more involvement, and will be using a writer and producer with a track record that includes "Pushing Daisies" and "Dead Like Me." While his programs may not be ratings hits, they do attract a following and awards buzz, and NBC really needs a high-profile push to get it out of network television's basement.
About the Author