Raking it in? ABC legal drama flagged for US screens

Greg Kinnear as Cleaver Greene? Is nothing sacred in Hollywood?

The US studio Sony Pictures Television is developing an American adaptation of the Australian legal drama Rake and has Kinnear "attached" to play the role that Richard Roxburgh has won wide acclaim for.

But let's keep this in context: the US adaptation has not been sold to either a network or a cable channel yet, and Kinnear's "attachment" means that he's keen, and the studio have a bankable name, but nothing has been set in stone.

The windfall for the ABC is confirmation for them that their investment in Rake was a good one.

The series has emerged as one of its major blue-chip programs, drawing close to 800,000 viewers last night.

It was the second most watched program on the national broadcaster.

The series was created by barrister Charles Waterstreet, Roxburgh and writer-producer Peter Duncan, and written by Duncan and Andrew Knight.

It's an impressive pedigree. Knight's earlier work for the ABC, the drama SeaChange, was one of the national broadcaster's best-performing dramas in its history, drawing more than two million viewers weekly in the late '90s.

The second series is currently airing, and the ABC has also confirmed a third series.

There could be more: despite local reports suggesting the show's third season would be its last, Fairfax believes that the producers, and Roxburgh, are open to the possibility of a fourth season.

The US version will be produced by Paul Attanasio, the executive producer of House. No surprise there: there are definitely similarities in the maverick-like qualities of Cleaver Greene and Gregory House.

Kinner would also serve as a co-executive producer.

In an interesting, and promising, twist, the series will not be written by Americans as is so often the case: the US studio is importing the show's Australian writer to work on it.

The pilot script will be written by Peter Duncan. In addition to Rake, Duncan's credits include the feature film Children of the Revolution and the telemovies Valentin-e's Day and Hell Has Harbour Views.

The story Raking it in? ABC legal drama flagged for US screens first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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