NBC to take on Cleopatra in ambitious pilot project

NBC is definitely in the “iconic character” phase of their development process at the moment — they’ve already decided to reboot “the Munsters” with “Mockingbird Lane” and try to tell the story of Hannibal Lecter on the small screen, and now they are apparently getting into the “historical epic” game.

According to a new report from Deadline, the network has picked up a new series co-produced by ABC Studios and Lorenzo Di Bonaventura’s company that is all about the story of Cleopatra. Specifically (per Deadline), it would revolve around the story of the Egyptian ruler, Mark Antony, and Julius Caesar, an “an infamous love triangle that changes the course of history, forever ending the 4,000-year dominion of the Pharaoh.”

This is certainly an ambitious series for the network to take on, and we are excited about the idea of NBC trying to up HBO at their own game of producing these sort of massive projects. Network programming head Robert Greenblatt comes from the world of cable, and he may be trying to bring in that sort of serialized storytelling here. We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again and again — rather than stretch out a show for 22 episodes when it does not need to be so long, why not give two serials 13-episode seasons to air in the fall and spring? It may cost more money, but there is some potential here for some great ratings and critical acclaim. Audiences on cable are proving that there is a market for this again and again, and mixing this with a few procedurals could get NBC out of their ratings slump that they have been in for years now. This show is in the “put pilot” position, which means that NBC would be forced to pay out if they do not end up seeing this show through.

What do you think about a Cleopatra show, and who would you want as the lead? We want to hear your thoughts below! To check out some more news from NBC’s development slate, be sure and check out the story here.

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