The US remake of the ABC's critically acclaimed hit drama Rake has taken a step closer to becoming a reality: US network Fox has given the green light to a pilot episode.
The pilot is described as "a character-driven comedic drama" and will star American actor Greg Kinnear as Keegan Joye, a brilliant but self-destructive criminal defence lawyer.
In the Australian version, the same character is named Cleaver Greene and is played by actor Richard Roxburgh.
The project is being produced by Sony's TV production arm, Sony Pictures Television, which announced plans to remake Rake earlier this year.
Most of the show's Australian creative team - Duncan, Roxburgh and producer Ian Collie - has been retained by the US production as executive producers, along with a US writer/producer, Peter Tolan, and a US producer, Michael Wimer.
Kinnear, the show's star, is also an executive producer.
An outline of the pilot, circulated to US trade media, describes the character as an addict who is "brilliant, frustratingly charming, and with zero filter."
"His staggering lack of discretion and inability to self-censor land him the cases that nobody else wants, but behind that lies a resolute optimism and belief in justice that fuel his dogged determination to defend those who seem beyond redemption," it says.
Production of the pilot will get underway soon, so it can be screened to Fox network executives and international buyers in May.
The annual "May screenings" in Los Angeles bring program buyers from around the world to view programs for possible sale.
In Australia, most US content is tied up through studio output deals with networks, such as the arrangement between Warner Bros and Nine, or Disney/ABC and Seven.
Sony Pictures does not have an existing studio output deal with an Australian broadcaster after its deal with Nine expired last year, so the US remake of Rake is effectively on the open market.
The remake attracted some controversy during its development, with criminal barrister Charles Waterstreet, who co-created the series and on whom the central character is based, expressing frustration to Fairfax over being marginalised from the potential financial windfall.
Essential Media produced two series of Rake for the ABC and a third is in development. Producers have previously indicated they are open to a fourth.
The series is part of a new wave of Australian content that has been acquired by US studios and networks.
A number of deals recently finalised include remakes of the critically acclaimed drama The Slap, and the edgy ABC2 comedies Review with Myles Barlow and The Strange Calls.