EXCLUSIVE: Former Rescue Me showrunner Peter Tolan has come on board legal drama Rake — starring and co-executive produced by Greg Kinnear — as executive producer/showrunner. The project is set up at Fox with a pilot production commitment plus series penalty. Tolan succeeds Paul Attanasio, who was originally attached as showrunner when Rake was taken out to broadcast and cable networks in late September but had to pull out before the deal with Fox was completed because of other commitments. Rake is based on the popular Australian series whose co-creator Peter Duncan will write the U.S. adaptation under Tolan’s supervision.
Like Rescue Me — toplined by Denis Leary, who co-created the series with Tolan — Rake is a starring vehicle with a flawed character at the center. It also has a similar sensibility of a drama with comedic overtones. Rake follows the chaotic world of criminal defense lawyer Cleaver Greene (Kinnear). Brilliant, iconoclastic and innately self-destructive, he has a mind-numbing lack of discretion and a total inability to pause before speaking his mind. From bigamists to cannibals and everything in between, the clients Cleaver loves most are those whose cases appear to be utterly hopeless without him realizing that he, himself, is perhaps the most desperate case of all.
Rake is produced by Sony Pictures TV and Essential Media, the company behind the original series. Tolan is executive producing with Duncan and Essential Media’s Richard Roxburgh and Ian Collie. The original series, co-created by Duncan, Roxburgh and Charles Waterstreet and co-written by Duncan and Andrew Knight, premiered on Australia’s ABC 1 in 2010 and is airing its second season with Roxburgh as the lead.
Rake is adding to an already very busy development season for CAA-repped Tolan, who has sold two high-profile shows under his overall deal at Sony. He is co-writing/exec producing with House creator David Shore a cop drama for Fox and co-writing/exec producing with Jim Gaffigan a comedy for CBS to star the comedian.