May 27, 2017

NBC orders Western script from “Friday Night Lights” head Peter Berg

By Sean O’Connell The Western, which appears to have stalled a bit on the silver screen, is finding new life on the small screen.

While HBO’s “Deadwood” remains the gold standard, NBC is chasing similar glories by ordering a script for a new Western, according to THR. “Friday Night Lights” producers Peter Berg and Liz Heldens are behind the project, which reportedly would tell its story from the perspective of a female character.

It also, as the trade notes, “joins a cadre of small screen western efforts, including AMC’s upcoming series ‘Hell On Wheels,’ set during the building of the Union Pacific Railroad in the 1860s, and A&E pilot ‘Longmire,’ about a widowed sheriff in Absaroka County, Wyoming.”

Yet films like “Cowboys & Aliens” fail to attract large crowds, and Johnny Depp can’t get “The Lone Ranger” made at Disney.

The genre has been through a series of ups and downs. It has survived decades. But if AMC, A&E and NBC play their cards right, it could thrive in a different, serialized medium.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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