No work of the past century has been as frequently adapted to stage and screen as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum’s iconic novel. The most obvious example, the classic film version starring Judy Garland and a trip over the rainbow was actually the sixth film based on Baum’s work, and since then everyone from Sidney Lumet to anime filmmaker Fumihiko Takayama has taken a crack at it.
Now Variety brings word that Jason Katims, the head writer and executive producer of Friday Night Lights, will be modernizing Baum’s world for NBC. He’ll executive produce Dorothy Gale with Bridget Carpenter, a Friday Night Lights writer who created the new show, and Meryl Poster.
The very familiar premise follows Dorothy from Kansas as she moves to big, bad Manhattan (the Emerald City), gets a job in the art world and copes with having a mean boss. At first read, this sounds a bit too much like The Devil Wears Prada and countless other iterations of the age old small town girl conquers the big city motif.
However, the idea of translating Baum to modern NYC has some potency, if the creative team refuses to bury the story’s strangeness beneath a bland sitcom exterior. There’s no news yet of casting decisions or a targeted air date.