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Though he’s a novelist first and foremost, Nicholas Sparks is also the master of romantic movies, and has been gunning pretty hard to bring stories with his signature touch into the TV universe. Back in October, his production company, aptly named Nicholas Sparks Prods., sold three TV projects to different networks. One of these projects was bought by Lifetime, and now that network is moving forward with the project to pilot.
The project is called Deliverance Creek. It’s a period drama set around the Civil War, which is a little different than the stories Sparks usually favors, which is likely due to the fact that the project is actually being written by Melissa Carter. The female-driven pilot will follow a woman named Belle Barlowe, who is forced to defend her lands from a corrupt bank that pretty well runs the town she lives in. Deadline first reported the news, noting that the bank will force Belle to become an outlaw and make her choose “whether it’s better to be good or to survive.”
I sense there may be a little bit of Robin Hood in that plot, but we may not know more until casting begins for Lifetime’s pilot, which will likely come sooner rather than later. What I do know is that Carter is executive producing the pilot, along with Sparks and Sparks’ production company partner Theresa Park. Overall, the project marks the first of three Nicholas Sparks Productions has moving forward to pilot.
Beyond Deliverance Creek, two more projects were purchased by two other networks. ABC Family also purchased The Falls last fall, which is described as a Romeo and Juliet retelling. ABC Family has made some big pick-ups over the last few months, including Ravenswood and Chasing Life. This doesn’t totally rule The Fall out, but it does explain why it may not have moved forward already.
TNT theoretically has the mother of all Nicholas Sparks Prods. projects. It is called A Bend in the Roadand it’s based on the novel of the same name by Sparks. That one tells the tale of a recently widowed Sheriff who meets a second grade teacher and a relationship ensues. That project screams Nicholas Sparks but it has yet to be picked up by the network. That, of course, doesn't mean it's off the table at this point, but a lack of forward progress is rarely a great sign when it comes to potential series.
Lifetime has a decent track record with moving projects forward to series, and Nicholas Sparks actually seems to be a fitting personality for the channel. As long as Deliverance Creek fits the direction the network is trying to go in, it has a damn good chance of moving forward and getting a sizeable episode count. Of course, it’s a little early to tell whether or not that will be happening, but we will keep you posted along the way.