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ABC Making Marvel TV Show About ‘Avengers’ Secret Agency

Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Walt Disney Co.’s ABC network is developing a TV series from the company’s Marvel unit based on the secret agency in “The Avengers” movie, said Paul Lee, head of the network’s entertainment division.

The first episode of the tentatively named “S.H.I.E.L.D.” is being written and directed by “Avengers” director Joss Whedon, Lee said today at a TV critics conference in Pasadena, California. The series may be ready for the TV season that starts in September, he said.

“We fast-tracked it and we’ll see it earlier than others,” Lee said. “Hopefully it moves to series and we will build a big marketing campaign around it.”

The “Avengers” movie was 2012’s biggest box office success, collecting $1.51 billion in worldwide ticket sales, according to researcher BoxOfficeMojo.com. If the TV show’s first episode is successful, the network plans an aggressive marketing effort targeted at fans of the film, Lee said. In addition to the TV show, Marvel is working on a film sequel.

The show’s plot revolves around the creation of the Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division, or SHIELD, a secret agency that works with superheroes to combat villains, according to Imdb.com, a provider of information about movie and television content.

Clark Gregg, who played SHIELD agent Phil Coulson in the Marvel film, is returning for the TV series, according to Imdb.

Disney rose 0.1 percent to $50.83 at 3:34 p.m. in New York. The Burbank, California-based company’s stock gained 33 percent in 2012, compared with a 7.3 percent increase for the 30-company Dow Jones Industrial Average, which includes Disney.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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