EXCLUSIVE: In his first series role since concluding his nine-year turn on CSI, William Petersen is set to star in and executive produce Hurt People, a drama series set up at Graham King and Tim Headington’s GK-tv. The project, written by Peter Macmanus, centers on Hollis Brown (Petersen), a veteran hitman employed by the crime family that killed his wife. Brown has been enlisted to hunt down his estranged daughter who is intent on destroying those responsible for her mother’s death. Brown is a stark departure from Petersen’s character on CBS’ CSI, the brooding and likable Gil Grissom. Because of Hurt People‘s dark tone, I hear the series is targeting primarily cable networks as well as emerging original programming players like Netflix. Petersen will executive produce the project, which will be taken out shortly, with his producing partner Cynthia Chvatal, Macmanus, King, Headington and GK-tv president Craig Cegielski. Macmanus’ manager Beth Stine is attached as supervising producer.
Petersen and Mcmanus, who has no previous credits and worked as a production executive at AMC before segueing to writing, are repped by UTA, which sent Macmanus’ script to Petersen and Chvatal. The two liked it and teamed with GK-tv to develop it. Petersen has been successful in spotting great new TV writing talent before. In 2000, when under a rich talent holding deal at CBS, Petersen was given dozens of pilot scripts from established writers to choose from but picked a forensic drama from novice Anthony Zuiker, whose resume at the time only included one indie movie. While Hurt People is being developed for the U.S., GK-tv, which has strong international presence, also has an eye on the global marketplace as the series is toplined by one of the biggest TV stars in the world. During his tenure on CSI, where Petersen and Chvital also served as an executive producers, the crime drama was the most watched series on American television and ranked several times as No. 1 in the world. CSI, which Petersen helped establish, remains one of the most popular global TV franchises. On the feature side, Petersen will next be seen opposite Steve Carell and Keira Knightley in Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World.