NBC has picked up Robinson Crusoe, a drama series based on Daniel Defoe's classic novel, with a 13-episode order, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The trade paper reports that Robinson Crusoe came out of an unorthodox brainstorming idea of NBC's new chief, Ben Silverman, who had asked his development team to generate a list of the most engaging stories ever told -- everything from The Last of the Mohicans to Sleeping Beauty. "Crusoe" was at the top of that list. Also high on it and under serious consideration at the network are the tales of David and Goliath and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," sources said.
NBC plans to launch Robinson Crusoe in-season, either next fall or midseason 2009, depending on whether there will be a strike.
Robinson Crusoe will be based on the 1719 novel with a contemporary feel and voice, including a 21st century take on race relations, but it will be a period drama, taking place in the 17th century, when the book is set.
Like the novel, NBC's series will center on Crusoe and his relationship with his loyal servant, Friday. But in addition to their adventures overcoming marauding militias, hungry cannibals, wild cats, starvation and apocalyptic lightning storms described in the book, the series will introduce additional characters and elements, including a MacGyver-like knack of the lead character for making handy tools and devices out of common items.
"We're bringing 'Robinson Crusoe' to the 21st century using the original character to create something very real and authentic, but also something new and different," Power founder and CEO Justin Bodle said.
Robinson Crusoe will be adapted to series by an American writer, while, in keeping with the main character's British roots, the title role will most probably be played by a U.K. actor, with an Aussie also a possibility. Australia is being eyed as a shooting location.