The Australian mob drama Underbelly premiered to tremendous critical and commercial success in 2008, and Starz is hoping to bottle some of that magic for the States. The premium network is in the early stages of adapting the series; Vulture reports that “development of the project is a top priority.” The Starz edition will transplant the action from Melbourne to an American, as the network is currently researching local crime families dramatic enough to warrant the TV treatment.
This represents another aggressive play from Starz CEO (and former HBO chief) Chris Albrecht to compete with HBO and Showtime for pay cable supremacy. In addition to season two and a prequel of their flagship series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Starz will co-produce the next season of sci-fi series Torchwood with the BBC, and re-imagine the King Arthur saga with Camelot.
Hit the jump for details on the FX pilot Outlaw Country, led by Mary Steenburgen (The Proposal).
Keeping with the theme of organized crime, Outlaw Country is described as “a crime thriller/family drama set against the backdrop of southern organized crime and Nashville royalty where music and love, hope and tragedy collide.” Deadline reports that Steenburgen has signed on to play a country music legend, a role which will require her to belt out a number or two.
The marital screenwriting team of Josh Goldin and Rachel Abramowitz scripted the pilot and will handle showrunning duties alongside David Manson, who is returning to FX after his work on the 2006 miniseries Thief. Art Linson and John Linson (Sons of Anarachy) are on board as executive producers, while singer/songwriter Shooter Jennings should lend some legitimacy to Country in his role as executive consultant and music supervisor.