"Beverly Hills Cop" made a fortune for Paramount Pictures in…
Paramount Pictures is easing back into television production with a high-profile pilot: "Beverly Hills Cop."
The Viacom Inc.-owned movie studio announced Monday that it was co-producing and co-financing a one-hour pilot, "Beverly Hills Cop," with Sony Pictures Television. The CBS broadcast network ordered the pilot from Sony, which has taken the lead role developing and producing the project.
Paramount owns the rights to the franchise, which produced a successful string of movies in the 1980s and '90s starring Eddie Murphy.
The pilot, which could get a green light to series in May when CBS picks its fall schedule, marks Paramount's return to television after leaving the business in 2006. That's when Paramount's corporate parent split into two separate publicly traded companies: CBS Corp. and Viacom Inc.
As part of the corporate breakup, CBS took control of the Viacom television assets, including Paramount Television's vast library of shows such as "Frasier" and "Cheers." Paramount then narrowed its focus on feature films.
However, Paramount left the door open to future television projects.
"Paramount will continue to be flexible, innovative and smartly opportunistic," Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey wrote in an email to employees Monday.
"This pilot is also an example of being nimble and looking at our library with an eye toward capitalizing on an opportunity to make great content and create value by reviving a wonderful Paramount franchise," Grey wrote.
"Beverly Hills Cop," a buddy comedy produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, premiered in 1984 and became an immediate box office sensation that spawned two sequels. The trio of movies collectively grossed more than $420 million domestically.
The pilot for the proposed CBS series was written by Shawn Ryan ("The Shield"), who has a development deal at Sony. Barry Sonnenfeld is expected to direct the pilot. The series would star Brandon T. Jackson, Sheila Vand, David Denman, Kevin Pollak and Christine Lahti.
Murphy is expected to pop up from time to time on the show, reprising the role of Axel Foley, the impulsive Detroit cop. The proposed series is expected to focus on Foley's son, who follows in his father's career as a police officer in Beverly Hills.
Sony Pictures Television has 16 pilots in contention this spring at the various broadcast networks. Paramount developed a Web series for Yahoo titled "Burning Love."
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