ITV Studios America announces it has optioned fire fighter Brian Panowich’s first novel, Bull Mountain, to adapt as a series. Should Bull Mountain go to series, Criminal Mind‘s Ed Bernero will serve as show runner and write the pilot.
From ITV Studios America:
ITV Studios America announced today it has optioned Brian Panowich’s novel BULL MOUNTAIN to adapt into a scripted television series and signed showrunner Ed Bernero (CRIMINAL MINDS) to pen the pilot script and showrun the series.
BULL MOUNTAIN is a multi-generational saga of crime, family and vengeance, centering on a modern day small-town sheriff who is trying to distance himself from his family’s criminal empire. Of the novel, Booklist wrote, “Dazzling . . . Panowich tells his story in lengthy, nicely worked chapters reminiscent of John Steinbeck, who did his own brother-versus-brother story in East of Eden. Both write in a flowing, textured, understated style that is such a pleasure to read we don’t realize we’re being set up for a series of uppercuts. They come in revelations accompanied by gunfire…”
Panowich, who is currently working as a firefighter in East Georgia, released the novel last month with Putnam Books. His previous stories, IF I EVER GET OFF THIS MOUNTAIN and COMING DOWN THE MOUNTAIN, were nominated for Spinetingler Awards.
Bernero, who worked as a police officer in Chicago, began his television career as a staff writer on BROOKLYN SOUTH in 1997. His additional credits include co-creating THIRD WATCH, show-running CRIMINAL MINDS and co-creating CROSSING LINES.
BULL MOUNTAIN marks the latest scripted project from ITV Studios America, whose other scripted series include GOOD WITCH (Hallmark Channel), now in production for a second season, and TEXAS RISING (History). ITV Studios America is ramping up its scripted programming slate, with projects sold across multiple networks and streaming platforms.
The deal was brokered by Joel Gotler of Intellectual Property Group, who represents Panowich.
In a summer interview with Mark Rubinstein at Huffington Post, Panowich describes the novel as, “…primarily a family saga about Southern people and the way they do things, as opposed to the rest of the world.” When asked to further characterize his story, Panowich said:
I wanted to write an interesting story dealing with a Southern family. I didn’t set out to write a crime novel, but since I’m a huge Elmore Leonard fan, I think his influence was somewhere in the back of my mind to do that. I just let the characters take the story where they did. I love being told I’ve written in these various genres, but I honestly don’t have any idea in which genre Bull Mountain belongs. To me, it’s like The Godfather, a family saga, more than anything else. The exact nature of the Corleone enterprise isn’t nearly as interesting as the relationship between the family members.
John Connolly is one of my literary heroes; anything he says is gold to me, so when he called Bull Mountain ‘Hillbilly noir,’ that’s fine with me.
What do you think? Do you like the sound of Bull Mountain? If it makes it to series, do you plan to check it out? Let us know.