‘Outbreak’ to Become NBC TV Pilot

Outbreak

A deadly disease takes the world by storm, killing millions. A small team is tasked with tracking down the source to create a vaccine and save what remains of humanity. Yes, it’s a tried and true narrative seen in books, TV and movies going back decades. One of the more famous examples is Wolfgang Petersen’s 1995 film Outbreak. Now NBC has hired two former ER executive producers to turn Outbreak into a dramatic TV show.

Deadline broke the news of the show which, for now, only has a pilot commitment. The producers are John Wells and Jack Orman, who previously had a successful relationship with NBC on ER.

Little is known about the show as it’s still incredibly early in development. It’ll be an hour long drama, featuring a similar storyline to the film as well as an ensemble cast.

One problem I foresee with an Outbreak TV show is the question of longevity. Either the characters find the cure, and the show ends, or they don’t find a cure and everyone dies. The former will most certainly be the trajectory on a network show, but producers can only drag that drama out for a season or two. There’s not really a lot of options there. Unless, of course, they go the Prison Break route and, after the first virus is defeated, another virus starts spreading.

I certainly see the appeal of this dramatic conceit making its way to television but will be curious to see how it plays out. What do you think?

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