NBC picks up show based on Bucks County's 'Drama High'

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Josh Radnor, left, will play Lou Mazzuchelli in "Rise," based on "Drama High" by Michael Sokolove, right.

The drama continues for Drama High, the story of the theater program at Levittown's Harry S. Truman High School, and its legendary director, Lou Volpe.

Now called Rise, the series, produced by Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights) and Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller from Michael Sokolove's book, has been picked up by NBC in advance of its 2017-18 schedule announcements later this month.

It's not clear where Rise, which is being compared to Glee, will be set.

"I'm hesitant to talk about what's in the show with any specificity, because it's not my show. I'm not writing it. It's Jason's show," Sokolove, who earlier in his career worked at both the Philadelphia Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer, said in a phone interview Friday.

"The heart and soul of my book, and my characters — Lou Volpe is my main character — and I think Levittown is my other main character, they're very much in this show. Lou by name is in this show."

Volpe's character, currently called Lou Mazzuchelli, will be played by Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother).

"It's TV, so it's fiction, as it has to be, and as it should be. I only know about the pilot. The rest of it is yet to be imagined, but  I feel really confident that my book, and my teacher and this town that I grew up in is in the DNA of this series, and will remain so. But the stories are ... going to be written by other writers," Sokolove said.

As for how involved he'll be, "we have talked, and I know that we will continue to talk. I am technically a consultant" on the show. "I couldn't be more excited  that [Katims] is  the person doing this."

"To have Jeffrey Seller and Jason Katims attracted to something I wrote is just overwhelming to me, it truly is," he said. "If you do long-form magazine stuff, you do books, you know it's something that can happen. But it usually doesn't. I've had other stuff optioned before. And you know that it's really unlikely that it gets to the finish line like this, or at least gets on NBC's schedule," he said. "So you sort of temper your optimism..it's just exciting and surprising that it's had this path."