Pilot Scoop: 12 Years a Slave Screenwriter to Pen American Crime Drama for ABC

Matt Webb Mitovich
American Crime ABC Pilot
American Crime ABC Pilot

ABC has put into development American Crime, a racially tinged drama pilot penned by John Ridley, the screenwriter of the critically acclaimed film 12 Years A Slave.

Set in California’s Central Valley, American Crime looks at how a racially charged murder and the subsequent trial are examined through the personal lives of the victims, the accused and their families. As the case takes on greater meaning in the community, it brings to the forefront America’s hardened views on race, class and gender politics.

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Ridley will also serve as an executive producer, alongside former ABC Studios drama head Michael McDonald, whose Stearns Castle shingle is producing the pilot. In his time at ABC Studios, McDonald shepherded to screen such series as Nashville, Revenge and Scandal.

Just this morning, Ridley’s 12 Years a Slave netted three Gotham Independent Film Award nominations, for best film, best actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and breakthrough actor (Lupita Nyong’o). His previous TV credits include Barbershop, Third Watch and Martin.

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