Friday, September 19, 2008

TV rights to Sawyer's novel Flashforward sold to ABC

Left to right: David S. Goyer, Robert J. Sawyer, Brannon Braga (click on photo for larger version; photo credit: Carolyn Clink)

The Hollywood Reporter published an article at 10:00 p.m. Pacific time on Thursday, September 18, 2008, saying we were close to selling my novel Flashforward and a pilot script based on it written by Brannon Braga and David S. Goyer to ABC. Reuters picked up the story, and now it's everywhere, including SciFi Wire. [See end of the comments section of this blog entry for the original Hollywoode Reporter article that broke the story.]

Actually, the deal has closed, and it had even before the Hollywood Reporter piece went online. It closed at 5:55 p.m. Pacific time that day, after many days of marathon negotiations between ABC and David's agents at CAA, Brannon's agents at Endeavor, and my agents at Created By. We're going ahead. I've read David and Brannon's pilot script, and it is magnificent. Details:

TV rights to Robert J. Sawyer's science-fiction novel Flashforward have sold to ABC in a handsome deal negotiated by Vince Gerardis of Created By.

David S. Goyer (Batman Begins) and Brannon Braga (Star Trek Voyager, 24) have scripted the pilot episode, which is now in pre-production. David Goyer will direct the pilot, and Jessika Borsiczky Goyer and Brannon Braga are among the Executive Producers.

Sawyer will serve as consultant on the pilot, and on each episode of any subsequent series; he will also write a first-season episode.

Flashforward tells the story of a mysterious event that causes everyone on Earth to get a brief glimpse of their future lives.

The novel, first published in 1999 by Tor Books, New York, and continuously in print since, won Canada's Aurora Award for Best Novel of the Year as well as Spain's Premio UPC de Ciencia Ficción, the world's largest cash prize for SF writing.

An unabridged audio version is available through, and translated editions are available in German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.

CNN called the novel "thoroughly entertaining," and in its starred review, denoting a book of exceptional merit, Publishers Weekly said the book is "a creative, soul-searching exploration of fate, free will, and the nature of the universe," adding that, "This first-rate, philosophical journey, a terrific example of idea-driven SF, should have wide appeal."

ABC is the most-watched television network in the United States. Of the potential series, The Hollywood Reporter says, "ABC might finally have launched a strong companion to Lost with Flashforward."

(Note: because Tor's art department split the title into two words on the book's cover, below, the book is sometimes referred to as Flash Forward instead of Flashforward.)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

Labels: ,


At September 19, 2008 2:02 PM , OpenID ksumnersmith said...

Wow -- congratulations, Rob! That's exciting news!!

At September 19, 2008 2:12 PM , Blogger Mark Leslie said...

Congratulations, Rob! That is awesome news!

At September 19, 2008 2:29 PM , Blogger Andrew Zimmerman Jones said...

An excellent achievement, Rob. Glad to see the first of many sales to television and movies! I'm very anxious to see how this series comes out. Congratulations!

At September 19, 2008 4:02 PM , Blogger Evan said...

Nice. Flashforward is my favourite of your novels, Rob. It'll be interesting to see how they make a series out of it. Will you have ongoing input?

At September 19, 2008 4:05 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Thanks, everyone!

Andrew, I must say I was very, very pleased with Brannon and David's take on the material; it's going to be a wonderful show.

Evan, yes I will have ongoing input: I'll be consultant on the pilot, and on every episode of the series.

At September 19, 2008 4:43 PM , OpenID jamietr said...

Rob, congratulations! I don't watch a whole lot of TV, but this would definitely be a show that I'd tune into. I really enjoyed Flashforward the novel.

At September 19, 2008 9:17 PM , Blogger John F said...

Let me add my congratulations to the chorus. This is great news! I've been waiting for one of your works to go to the (small or big) screen.

Does the timing of this deal have anything to do with the the news about the LHC finally coming online?

At September 19, 2008 9:25 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

The timing has nothing to do with the Large Hadron Collider coming online; this deal has been in the works for quite some time. It's just a coincidence. :)

At September 20, 2008 1:10 AM , Blogger Larry Hodges said...

Congrats! Flashforward was the first of your books that I read. I'm guessing one hour episodes? How closely does the pilot match the characters and events in the novel? If things go really well, what's the earliest we'd see it?
-Larry Hodges

At September 20, 2008 9:01 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Hi, Larry. Yes, it's for a series of one-hour episodes. The earliest the series could be on the air if Fall 2009.

At September 20, 2008 10:12 AM , Blogger seeker65 said...

Congratulations Rob!! Well deserved and very excited for you.

You said: "yes I will have ongoing input: I'll be consultant on the pilot, and on every episode of the series."

Whew! Glad about that.

At September 20, 2008 10:15 AM , Blogger .e. Jim Shannon said...

Flashforward sounds like an intersting fresh concept for TV.
I'll be watching when it airs.

At September 20, 2008 12:16 PM , Blogger Silverfish said...

That's so awesome! I'm really looking forward to seeing this show.


At September 20, 2008 12:38 PM , Blogger Evan said...

I wonder how much of the Canadian elements will be retained in the show?

At September 21, 2008 2:02 PM , Blogger Sarah Jane said...

Wow! Swooping in from England to say congratulations, Rob, that's fantastic!

At September 21, 2008 10:08 PM , Blogger Louis said...

Woohoo! You go Rob!

FlashForward was the first of your books that I read. It holds a special place for me. This is SOOOO excellent! Bravo!

;-) Louis.

At September 22, 2008 10:44 AM , Blogger Ian said...

Outstanding! Congratulations, Rob. I can't wait to see the show!

At September 22, 2008 11:43 PM , Blogger Us in SA said...

That's fabulous news Rob! Congratulations! Do you have any idea when it will broadcast?

At September 24, 2008 12:57 PM , Blogger Todd said...

Congrats, Rob! I'm really excited about this. Finally something worth watching on US network television!

At September 24, 2008 8:23 PM , Blogger SciFiGuy said...

I remember reading this when it first came out and thought - cool idea. Should make a great series. Looks like a talented team too. Congrats.

At September 25, 2008 12:29 AM , Blogger Marc Rifkin said...

Great news! Congrats!!

At September 25, 2008 10:10 PM , Blogger Zucchini said...

Rob! The Hollywood Reporter article, Google Books, and YOU got me reading again. I began reading Flashfoward at Google Books and enjoyed it so much, I ordered the book. I immediately read previews of 3 of your other books, and ordered them, too. Calculating God arrived today.

The lengthy previews are such a great idea because they get you hooked, and then you need to read the entire book. I wish all of your books had long previews on Google Books. I think you'd sell more books!

The timing of the real life particle accelerator experiment, that had some worried the world would end, and the announcement of the tv show is a great coincidence. Reminds me of 'China Syndrome' and 3 Mile Island.

Congratulations on the tv show. The team behind it, including you, almost guarantees a terrific show.

By the way, did you ever watch Odyssey 5, on Showtime? I loved it and miss it. I'm glad I can look foward to Flashfoward. Thanks!

At September 26, 2008 8:39 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

Thank you, everyone! Many thanks for the kind words!

Zucchini, I'm afraid I'd never even heard of ODYSSEY 5 until you just mentioned it -- but, based on a quick googling, it looks fascinating!

At October 05, 2008 3:45 PM , Blogger Haken'a said...

I'm happy with you Robert,
I am really looking forward to see the series, but exactly there is special moment- impossible to be catched by the camera.
I really enjoyed the novel.

Very well done,
keep going,
well- wisher,Aneta

At October 06, 2008 1:53 AM , Blogger jr said...

Wow, congratulations Rob! Definitely my favorite of your novels!

At December 05, 2008 8:05 PM , Blogger Ian Muttoo said...

Congrats Rob! I enjoyed the book very much, and can't wait to see the pilot and series!

At May 12, 2009 9:51 AM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

The article from The Hollywood Reporter that broke the story:

'Flash' drama wakes up at ABCDavid S. Goyer, Brannon Braga wrote the specBy Nellie AndreevaSept 19, 2008, 01:00 AM ET

Flash forward to 2009: ABC might finally have launched a strong companion to "Lost" with "Flash Forward."

After heated bidding, the spec script by filmmaker David S. Goyer and "Star Trek" veteran Brannon Braga is close to landing at ABC with a pilot order and series penalty behind it.

Based on Robert J. Sawyer's sci-fi novel, "Flash Forward" is considered very compatible with "Lost." It chronicles the chaos that ensues after everyone in the world blacks out for 2 minutes, 17 seconds and has a mysterious vision of the future that changes lives forever.

Goyer will direct the pilot. He also will exec produce with Braga and Jessika Borsiczky Goyer (NBC's "Revelations") along with Vince Gerardis and Ralph M. Vicinanza ("Jumper"), who own the rights to the book. ABC Studios is in negotiations to produce.

"Flash Forward" originally was developed at HBO, which retains a piece of the backend. The pay cable network's brass are said to have been high on the project but found it a better fit for a broadcast network. And with HBO's blessing, Goyer and Braga took it to the marketplace, where it spurred a bidding war between ABC and Fox.

Its pending sale to ABC created a conflict for Braga, who is under a deal with 20th TV to serve as a co-executive producer on "24," the studio's drama for Fox. ABC Studios and 20th TV engaged in conversations about possibly co-producing "Flash Forward," but when the talks stalled this week, Braga opted to pull from day-to-day involvement on the project, which helped the deal move forward. He will continue to serve as an exec producer on "Flash Forward" while working full time on "24."

Goyer and Braga met on the CBS sci-fi series "Threshold," which both executive produced.

Goyer most recently co-wrote the story for the megahit "The Dark Knight" and penned and directed the upcoming thriller "The Unborn." Braga worked on several "Star Trek" series, including "Enterprise," which he co-created, and also penned two "Star Trek" movies.

Goyer and Borsiczky Goyer are repped by CAA; Braga is repped by Endeavor.

At November 05, 2009 9:26 PM , OpenID shawksie03 said...

YAY! I have been meaning to come here for awhile, since the TV series started . . . am much relieved to learn that ABC bought the rights for this show from Rob.

Congratulations! FINALLY a good idea for TV comes to air!

Am thrilled and will be looking for episodes written by my fave sci-fi writer!

Thanks! keep those books coming Rob!


Post a Comment

<< Home