Chester Bennington Dies

Networks In Tune With New Music Shows

On the heels of several successful music reality series, two networks are going with music-themed drama projects about young performers.

On the heels of several successful music reality series, two networks are going with music-themed drama projects about young performers.

ABC is teaming with the Neptunes' Pharrell Williams, veteran entertainment executive-turned-producer Leonard Goldberg, McG and comedy writer-producer David Rosenthal for "Limelight," a drama project set in a performing-arts school.

Meanwhile, Oscar-winning writer-director Bill Condon and Oscar-nominated producer Laurence Mark are venturing into series television with a one-hour project at NBC. Written by Robin Schiff, it revolves around a group of twentysomethings trying to make it as performers in New York.

"Limelight" has the vibe of a modern-day "Fame." It revolves around prodigious students and faculty at an innovative performing-arts school in New York, where young men and women explore the combustible blend of contemporary music and dance while balancing their dreams, hopes and struggles.

"Limelight" is based on an original idea from McG and Goldberg, who worked together on the two "Charlie's Angels" movies, which Goldberg produced and McG directed. Both have a personal connection to the premise for the show: Goldberg's wife started a performing-arts school in California, while McG has launched a music label, written songs for Sugar Ray and directed nearly 50 music videos.

McG then reached out to Williams to contribute. "Pharrell is the ultimate embodiment of credibility in this space -- he attended a performing-arts high school and went on to become the most prolific producer of our generation," McG said. "I am honored to be his partner as he enters the world of television."

Williams said the idea of "Limelight" reminded him of growing up in Virginia, where he attended Old Donation Center for the Gifted and Talented. "(I came) from a different environment where we stuck out for having abilities that we later learned -- after attending a school like this -- were actually gifts and talents," he said. "The moral DNA for this project is that it's OK to dream, but to bring it to fruition requires hard work."

In a way, NBC's untitled Condon/Schiff project, which has a script commitment, is a post-"Fame," chronicling the struggles of young people who are supporting themselves by working odd day jobs while pursuing their dreams to be actors, singers and musicians.

"It's going to be a very realistic series with very emotional stories that will hopefully get heightened through music and dance," Condon said.

Condon's inspiration for the show came from his experience on the feature "Dreamgirls," which he wrote and directed. "I met so many talented performers that the chance to be able to deal with performers again was very enticing," he said.