Bryan Fuller's 'Hannibal' gets NBC series order

We were always bullish on this one. Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal project just got a direct-to-series order. NBC has picked up 13 episodes of the thriller TV series based on Thomas Harris’ classic cannibal serial killer.

Logline: “One-hour contemporary thriller series featuring the classic characters from Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon – FBI agent Will Graham and his mentor Dr. Hannibal Lecter – who are re-introduced at the beginning of their budding relationship.”

So that includes some new information. Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Heroes) is focusing on damaged FBI profiler Graham instead of Clarice Starling (popularized by Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs). Graham is the agent who captured Lecter when the psychiatrist was on his killing/eating spree.

The first question is who will play Lecter — a part that one could argue is either a dream role, or a thankless gig considering the inevitable comparisons to Anthony Hopkins’ Oscar-winning take on the character. Another question: How much will NBC push the envelope with the original tale’s gory content?

Skipping the traditional pilot stage for a direct-to-series production can save money, especially if a show’s costs are being shared by a committed foreign distributor. But it’s also a risky move. The time-honored pilot testing process gives networks and producers a chance to heavily rework a show’s first episode (or dump the project all together) before it airs. NBC previously gave a direct-to-series order for The Firm, which flopped out of the gate on Thursday nights.

Fuller’s other buzzed-about NBC project, a modernized dramatic reboot of The Munsters, was recently pushed back.

Also today: NBC gave a pilot order to Notorious from Friday Night Lights writer Liz Heldens (the project is no relation to the Hitchcock film… if anything it sounds a tad like ABC’s Revenge).

The logline: “An opulent soap in which a female detective returns undercover to the wealthy family she grew up in – as the maid’s daughter – to solve the murder of the notorious heiress who was once her closest friend.”

UPDATE: Casting call: Who should play Hannibal? (Poll)

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