In one of the last big drama deals this buying season, Fox has handed a put pilot commitment to The Punisher, a series based on the Marvel comic from Ed Bernero and ABC Studios. This is one of two high-profile sales for former Criminal Minds showrunner Ed Bernero. He also has high-concept Western spec The Eye set up at ABC.
The Punisher is described as an hour-long procedural with a Marvel signature and a new take on one of the comic book giant’s iconic characters, Frank Castle, a rising star detective with the New York Police Department who moonlights as the vigilante Punisher, seeking justice for those the system has failed. Bernero will executive produce along with Marvel. This marks the first sale this season and the first one ever outside of ABC for Disney-owned Marvel, which is developing TV series based on its properties through ABC Studios. Last season, the company set up Hulk with Guillermo del Toro and David Eick and AKA Jessica Jones with Melissa Rosenberg at ABC. Those projects have been moving on a slower development track at the network. This marks ABC-affiliated ABC Studios’ second high-profile sale to Fox this season, following another put pilot commitment for the Shonda Rimes-produced 1980s dramedy Wildwood. It also is part of Fox’s return to the comic book adaptation business after the recent cancellation of Human Target. In addition to The Punisher, Fox has in the works The Spectre, a drama based on the DC Comics superhero character co-created by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily.
As for Bernero’s other project, The Eye at ABC, it is a Western with a paranormal twist set in 1871 Arizona and centered on a team of Pinkerton Detectives who search for answers to unexplained phenomena. After a long tenure as showrunner of Criminal Minds and its spinoff, UTA-repped Bernero has recently focused on development through his ABC Studios-based Bernero Prods run by Rob Kim. Last year, he created and executive produced the ABC/ABC Studios drama pilot Partners.