EXCLUSIVE: HBO is set to re-team with the BBC for a new J.K. Rowling drama. Sources tell TVWise that the premium cable network is circling BBC One’s The Cormoran Strike Mysteries, based on the Harry Potter author’s Cormoran Strike novel series (published under the pen name Robert Galbraith), with plans to board as a co-producer.
Assuming the deal closes and HBO does in fact board as a co-producer (sources close to the project tell me that they will), this would mark the second such BBC drama from Rowling that the network has co-produced. Last year, just as pre-production was getting into full swing, HBO signed on to co-produce the three-part adaptation of Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. Representatives of HBO did not immediately respond to TVWise’s request for comment.
The Cormoran Strike Mysteries is described as being “steeped in the atmosphere of contemporary London” and follows war veteran turned private detective Cormoran Strike who investigates shocking crimes together with his female assistant Robin, whose forensic mind and fierce determination he cannot ignore. The murders take them from the hushed streets of Mayfair to the literary haunts of Fitzrovia, exposing the seedy reality lurking beneath seemingly innocent societies. With each crime, they discover a little more about each other and both learn that appearances can be deceptive.
The drama series, which is eyed for a 2016 premiere, is based on the first two Cormoran Strike novels, The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm. It was originally commissioned back in April 2014 and then Director of Television Danny Cohen was widely credited with securing the series for the BBC, even as major Hollywood Studios and rival UK broadcasters were chasing, thanks to his close relationship with Rowling and her long-time agent Neil Blair. A formal episode order has not yet been set, with the BBC stating that it would be finalised once the scripts are completed.
Sarah Phelps, who formed a close working relationship with Rowling when she adapted The Casual Vacancy for television, has come on-board to pen the adaption of The Cuckoo’s Calling, while Ben Richards will adapt the second novel The Silkworm. The Cormoran Strike Mysteries is being produced by Bronte Film and Television, the independent production company run by JK Rowling and Neil Blair, both of whom are serving as executive producers alongside Ruth Kenley-Letts and Lucy Richer. Dan McCulloch is the series producer, while Julian Farino is attached to direct.