FX set to kick off pro football skein

NEW YORK — Rupert Murdoch’s FX cable network is about to commission its first scripted drama series, a weekly hour dealing with the world of pro football players, both on and off the field.

Sterling Pacific Films is the production house for the series, called “The Pit,” the pilot of which will start shooting in Los Angeles later this month.

FX declined to comment on “The Pit,” but sources say if the pilot meets the network’s expectations, FX will commission six hourlong episodes, which could get on the schedule as early as this summer. The pilot will cost $1.3 million, and the price of each hour could range between $850,000 and $1.1 million. Those costs would be at least double those of the forthcoming Howard Stern-produced “Son of the Beach,” which was previously the most expensive original weekly show on FX.

One source says “The Pit” will be an ensemble drama featuring as many as 11 recurring characters. With pro football as the backdrop, the series will tackle such hot-button topics as racism, ageism, marital infidelity and drug and alcohol use.

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