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Redshirts TV series optioned by FX

redshirtsWe are thrilled to share the news that Hugo Awards winning novel Redshirts, by John Scalzi, is going to be adapted for television by the FX channel! You can read the full announcement here but the highlights are:

– This will be a limited series
– FX are teaming up with Producer Jon Shestack, and with Producer/Director Ken Kwapis and Alexandra Beattie (of Happyish)
– They are looking for writers at the moment

And John Scalzi has been kind enough to share a few words about the whole thing on his blog. You can read all the details here – and see below for a few highlights!

How long has this been going on?

There’s been interest in Redshirts pretty much from the moment it dropped. I remember being on tour, landing in LA and getting three e-mails in rapid sequence, one from my editor telling me we hit the NY Times hardcover bestseller list, one from a producer telling me he wanted a meeting, and another from my film/tv agent telling me I need to call him immediately. So that was nice. We spent a lot of time fielding offers on this one.

This particular deal got into high gear after Redshirts won the Hugo. After that happened, in relatively quick order (for Hollywood) Jon Shestack and Ken Kwapis put together a package and pitched it to FX, who took it on. And then came the Great Contractual Negotiation Period, which in Hollywood can last for some time, out of which we are now just emerging.

(This is, incidentally, a useful data point for people who argue whether or not winning a Hugo means anything outside the SF/F nerd tribe; in this case, yes, it really did. I expect this will start another round of gnashing and fuming and wailing about the award.)

How do you feel about the others involved in the deal?

I feel very good about them. I’ve known Jon Shestack for some time; he’s been a fan of my work for years, which is a positive thing when it comes to adapting a book for the screen. Among everything else Ken Kwapis has done, he directed the finale of The Office, and has likewise directed episodes of Parks and Recreation, Malcolm in the Middle, Freaks and Geeks and The Larry Sanders Show. He gets how humor works on television. And FX — well, they’ve been on a roll recently, haven’t they, with their shows? There’s nothing here I don’t like.

(There is one other principal involved: Alexandra Beattie, who is Ken Kwapis’ producing partner, and who I know little about other than her imdb page. However I have no doubt she is awesome.)

One of the reasons these things take time is that there is no point doing a deal just to do a deal; you want to have people working on it that you think can do justice to the material and who can actually get it out to the world. This is a good team. I’m happy to hand my work over to them and work to get it on screen.

How involved will you be with the series?

I’ll be an executive producer and consultant for the series, which means I will be involved to a fair degree. More than that I can’t say, not to be mysterious about it but because these are early days and we still have a lot to figure out, not the least of which is what my schedule is going to be for the rest of 2014. I have a book to write in there somewhere, you know.

So if you want all the insider news about FX’s hottest scheduling . . . well you can pick up a copy of the book right here!