EXCLUSIVE: Bones creator/showrunner Hart Hanson is staying on the crime beat with another hourlong project based on the work of a real-life crime expert. CBS has bought Backstrom, a drama based on the Backstrom books by renowned Swedish criminologist and novelist Leif G.W. Persson, with a pilot production commitment — the biggest commitment for a pitch so far this season. (CBS also recently took an early jump on pilot orders with an off-cycle pickup of the Rob Greenberg comedy Ex-Men.)
Person’s book series centers on Evert Backstrom. Sometimes described as a detective version of Dr. Gregory House, he is an overweight, offensive, irascible detective as he tries and fails to change his self-destructive behavior. Hanson will write the script and executive produce the project with Persson and his Scandinavian literary agent Niclas Salomonsson.
CBS has long had an eye on the books, which observers say are well-suited for a CBS procedural. CBS’ sister studio CBS TV Studio went after the rights when the property was shopped by LA literary agency RWSG last summer in a bidding war won by 20th TV, which bought the books for Stephen Gaghan. The project with Gaghan as writer was taken out and triggered another round of heated bidding, with all four networks — including CBS — interested. The pitch ultimately landed at 20th TV’s sister network Fox with a put pilot commitment but didn’t go to pilot.
WME-repped Hanson, who is under an overall deal at 20th TV, is one of the studio’s top showrunners. His dramedy Bones, which is heading into its eighth season on Fox, was loosely based on the life and writings of novelist and forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs. WME-repped Hanson continues to run that series, and proved he can shepherd two series at the same time this past season with Bones and its spinoff The Finder, which he also created.