Whedon shepherding ‘Firefly’ pilot for Fox

SOURCE: Electronic Media

Joss Whedon, the acclaimed creator/executive producer of UPN’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and The WB’s “Angel,” is leaving the cemetery for the unlimited bounds of outer space in a new pilot called “Firefly” in development for Fox next season. Mr. Whedon said he has written an “early outline” for Fox of what he describes as an ensemble space-based drama that will have the “feel of the Old West.” He said hopes are to do a pilot this spring and to launch the show in fall 2002.

“It is going to be a tough, raw sci-fi drama about a band of nine people that live and die around this cutthroat border of planets, with this kind of feel of the Old West and all of its last-man-standing sensibility to it,” Mr. Whedon said. “I have done these other dramas built around champions, heroes and beings with special powers, but I want to do [‘Firefly’] as a story about nine ordinary people — some good, some bad, some sketchy — that are still kind of an extended family.”

The development of “Firefly,” done under the auspices of 20th Century Fox Television, marks a collaborative reunion between Mr. Whedon and Gail Berman, president of Fox Broadcasting Co. The pair had worked together previously when Ms. Berman was president of Regency Television, where she jointly earned executive producer stripes on “Buffy” and “Angel.”

“‘Buffy’ was Gail’s idea originally, so it’s not like I owe her anything,” Mr. Whedon joked. “It’s such a great treat to be working with her again, and I’m completely psyched on the prospect to be on Fox.”