The original film starred Sidney Poitier as an Africa-American detective named Virgil Tibbs, who is asked to investigate a murder in a racially volatile Southern town. Rod Steiger won an Oscar for playing the small-town sheriff who objects to Mr. Tibbs' presence.
The new series will be set in present day Mississippi, Tate Taylor's home state, examining race, inequality and prejudice through contemporary characters. The project will be shopped to cable networks over the next few weeks.
During his time as an NBC programming executive, Warren Littlefield developed an earlier version of In the Heat of the Night TV series which starred Carroll O'Connor and Howard E. Rollins Jr. The show ran between 1988 and 1995, with four seasons airing on NBC and CBS picking up the remainder of the series.