EXCLUSIVE: In David E. Kelley’s first foray into cable, TNT has given a pilot order to a new medical drama from The Practice creator and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Kelley wrote the script for the project, tentatively titled Chelsea General, based on Gupta’s upcoming novel Monday Mornings. Kelley and Gupta, who is a practicing neurosurgeon, are executive producing. “Chelsea General promises to be a smart, witty and extremely powerful medical drama, the kind of series David E. Kelley is renowned for making,” said Michael Wright, EVP and head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies. “We look forward to working with David and Sanjay in bringing the doctors’ fascinating stories and characters to television.”
Set to be published in March 2012, Gupta’s Monday Mornings is set at Chelsea General and follows the lives of five surgeons as they push the limits of their abilities and confront their personal and professional failings. The book uses as its backdrop the hospital’s Monday Morbidity and Mortality conference, considered the most secretive meeting in all of medicine, where doctors gather for a confidential review of complications and errors in patient care. The book takes a look at how surgeons come to terms with mistakes and try to learn from them.
Chelsea General is Kelley’s first project as a free agent. The Emmy-winning writer-producer opted not to renew his overall deal at Warner Bros. TV in May so he can pursue passion projects in different areas, including cable. This marks Kelley’s return to the medical genre 17 years after he created CBS’ Chicago Hope. Kelley, repped by WME and attorney Michael Gendler, continues to executive produce his NBC/WBTV sophomore legal dramedy Harry’s Law, which recently received a full-season order.
Chelsea General joins two other recent pilot orders from TNT, Western Gateway from Warner Horizon and search-and-rescue procedural Scent of the Missing from CBS TV Studios.