EXCLUSIVE: A&E is launching its next pilot season with cast-contingent pilot orders to two hourlong projects, Big Mike and Longmire. Both are male-centered shows in the mold of A&E’s two series on the air, The Glades and the upcoming Breakout Kings. And Big Mike, which hails from Adam Sandler’s comedy-driven Happy Madison and Something About Mary co-writers Ed Decter and John Strauss, appears to share the light tone of The Glades.
Big Mike, co-produced by Happy Madison and Sony Pictures TV, is named after the central character, a plus-sized detective and a force of nature in the San Diego PD. One of the best in his field, he gets things done, knows all the right people, gets along with everyone, and knows all the best places to eat. His greatest challenge in his romantic life. Doug Robinson is executive producing the pilot with Decter and Strauss who wrote it. WME-repped Decter and Strauss recently succeeded John McNamara as the new showrunners on the USA series In Plain Sight and are also executive producing The Package Deal, a Sony TV-produced comedy project set up at ABC.
Based on the Walt Longmire Mystery series of novels by Craig Johnson, Longmire also is named after its central character, Walt Longmire, the local sheriff in rural Wyoming. Veteran Closer writer-producers Hunt Baldwin and John Coveny wrote the project and are executive producing with The Closer exec producers Greer Shephard and Mike Robin. Warner Horizon and Shephard/Robin are producing. Baldwin and Coveny, who created and executive produced the TNT drama Trust Me, are with CAA and Shuman Co.
After a 6-year hiatus, A&E re-entered the scripted arena with the series The Cleaner and The Beast. They were followed by the pilot orders a year ago to Sugarloaf (aka The Glades) and The Quickening. Of the two, The Glades, which stars Matt Passmore, went to series and was recently renewed for a second season.