It’s probably the only show in history with enough episodes written to earn it a syndication contract, but not a single episode produced.
That is the story behind the long bally-hooed live-action Star Wars television series that creator George Lucas has teased for a long time. And while everything except the cash has been ready to go for years, it’s a series that to this point, has never seen the light of day. Even on a planet like Tatooine that is warmed by two suns.
But all of that could change now that the Walt Disney Co. owns the Star Wars franchise. Especially since that company owns a television network, let’s call it ABC, that would be more than willing to air it, no matter what the expense.
“We’d love to do something with Lucasfilm. We’re not sure what yet,” ABC Entertainment president Paul Lee told Entertainment Weekly. “We haven’t even sat down with them. We’re going to look at [the live-action series], we’re going to look at all of them, and see what’s right. It’s definitely going to be part of the conversation.”
Lee admits being pretty behind in such a process, but confesses those delays were because he couldn’t even talk to Lucasfilm until the acquisition by Disney was complete. That deal is now closed, but the network would still require a lot of prep work to get what could be one of the most expensive television series in history onto the small screen.
The project, at least in the past, included long-time Star Wars movie producer Rick McCallum as well as “Battlestar Galactica” developer and former “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” executive producer Ronald D. Moore. Fifty scripts were written for what many say is during a time period between the recent prequels and the classic Star Wars films. This would allow the introduction of many familiar faces, all of which could help boost such a television series.
Like it would need boosting.
But would ABC be willing to spend $100 million on a single season of a show? That’s what it would likely cost as each episode of a Star Wars series is expected to carry a $5 million price tag. Although ABC would have a chance to collect post-broadcast revenue like through iTunes, DVD and syndication, it would still require a pretty big audience — like a top 10 audience — to help prevent the bean counters from jumping off the top of the ABC tower.
With new Star Wars movies coming, there is a chance of pulling a Star Trek and over-saturating the market with both television shows and films. However, Lee said that Star Wars could take an approach similar to its upcoming series “SHIELD,” which is set in the same universe as “The Avengers,” but is not “The Avengers.”
“Maybe something oblique is the way” to approach a Star Wars series, Lee said, rather than “going straight head-on at it.”
ABC has been working hard to bring genre shows to its schedule, finding some success with dramas like “Once Upon a Time,” and the new comedy “Neighbors.” Another high-concept project, “666 Park Avenue,” failed to find an audience, and had a short life on the network.