NBC is ready for a hit, and they don’t want to wait to find out if a pilot is any good before they get one, so the network has made a direct-to-series order of 13 episodes for a new Hannibal series from Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller.

Hannibal will be written and produced by Fuller, with Lecter film producer Martha DeLaurentiis also onboard as executive producer. The network is also working with Fuller on The Munsters reboot, which has been re-titled Mockingbird Lane, and subsequently taken out of consideration for the fall 2012 schedule – instead being re-tooled for a possible midseason 2013 premiere.

That gives Fuller time to focus on Hannibal, which will be an hour-long drama taking a closer look at the beginning of Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s relationship with budding FBI profiler Will Graham. By the description, it sounds as though this series will be dealing with a pre-incarceration Lecter, one who may be assisting Graham in tracking down other dangerous criminals, perhaps?

The pair were introduced in Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon, which was adapted by Michael Mann into the 1986 film Manhunter, starring William Petersen (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) and Brian Cox (X2: X-Men United, The Bourne Identity) portraying Graham and Lecter, respectively.

Of course, after Anthony Hopkins won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Lecter in Jonathan Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs, the character became a part of cinematic history. For his part, Hopkins portrayed the character twice more; once in Ridley Scott’s Hannibal and again Bret Ratner’s adaptation of Red Dragon, opposite Edward Norton in the role of Graham.

Though it’s likely that the Graham character will take point in the series, it will be most challenging to find an actor who can endear himself to audiences the way Hopkins did, so production on the Hannibal series certainly has its work cut out for it. Furthermore, whoever lands the gig will have to contend with continuous comparisons to Hopkins’ performance (as well as the countless impressions of the character performed by comedians, actors and the self-proclaimed “funniest guy in your office”), which begs the question: how much will Hopkins’ take on the character influence the portrayal of Lecter in this new series?

Perhaps most surprising is NBC’s willingness to go direct-to-series so soon after the less-than-stellar performance of The Firm – which was arranged in a similar fashion as Hannibal. The Firm premiered early this year to weak ratings, which resulted in the series being shipped off to Saturdays, opening its Thursday night timeslot for Awake.

However, while NBC committed to a 22-episode run of The Firm, the network has taken the cable and premium channel route by opting for a shorter 13-episode season for Hannibal. That way, if it proves to be a dud, the shame won’t linger quite as long.

Screen Rant will keep you posted as casting for Hannibal gets underway.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter