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NBC eyes 'Outbreak' television series from the executive producers of 'ER'

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Outbreak publicity still
Outbreak publicity still

If the zombie apocalypse isn't enough, a television show based on the movie Outbreak might be on its way. Deadline Hollywood reports that NBC has ordered a pilot for a one-hour drama based upon the 1995 Wolfgang Peterson film, which starred Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Kevin Spacey, and Cuba Gooding, Jr. The pilot was co-written by John Wells and Jack Orman, who previously served as executive producers and writers on the long-running hit ER.

The television version sounds like it will be hewing close to the source material, with the new series described as an ensemble medical thriller that follows a group of medical researchers as they try to contain a viral outbreak before it spreads worldwide. While the ticking clock of a potential global outbreak has worked wonders in films, maintaining that kind of tension poses a completely different set of challenges on television — particularly when you're trying to stretch it across multiple seasons. Of course, a pilot order is still relatively early in the process, and many shows that have pilots shot never make it to series. With a high-profile name like Wells behind the project, however, it's certainly going to be one of the most anticipated pilots of the coming season.