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Batman's crime-ridden Gotham metropolis comes to Fox TV

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Batman's crime-ridden gritty fictional metropolis of Gotham City will be the focus of a new Fox drama, the latest comic book-inspired series to tap superheroes' ability to draw audiences to both film and TV.

Fox described its new show "Gotham" as "the origin stories of Commissioner James Gordon and the villains that made Gotham famous," the network said on Wednesday. Gordon is the police commissioner of Gotham City, and often supports Batman to defeat the city's villains.

Each episode will be one hour, and the pilot will be written and produced by Bruno Heller, a British screenwriter best known for co-creating the HBO-BBC produced drama "Rome," which explored Ancient Rome's reign under Julius Caesar and Emperor Augustus.

Fox has yet to announce when the series will air and who will star in it. It was not clear whether Batman would even be a character in the series.

"Gotham" comes on the heels of Marvel's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D" on Walt Disney Co.'s television network ABC, which premiered on Tuesday with 11.9 million viewers. The series features human agents and is based on the world of Marvel's "Avengers" comics, featuring an ensemble of superheroes including Iron Man, Thor and Captain America.

"Gotham" will be produced by Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros. Entertainment, which incorporated DC Entertainment, the company behind the DC Comics universe that includes Batman and Superman. The series will air on Fox, a unit of 21st Century Fox Inc..

The latest Batman adaptation, Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy starring Christian Bale as the caped crusader, made more than $2 billion at box offices worldwide. British actor Gary Oldman played Commissioner Gordon in the films.

Oscar-winning actor Ben Affleck will be the next person to don the bat mask on the big screen as he faces off with Henry Cavill's Superman in "Man of Steel 2," due in theaters in 2015.

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Mary Milliken and Ken Wills)

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