CBS has given pilot orders to two more dramas, Anatomy Of Violence, from the Homeland trio of executive producers Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa and Alex Cary, and Intelligence, from writer Michael Seitzman. The network also has made official the pilot order to David E. Kelley’s comedy pilot Crazy Ones starring Robin Williams.
As one of the highest wattage comedy packages this season, the David E. Kelley-written workplace comedy starring Robin Williams has had an informal pilot order ever since the project landed at CBS in August. It has already hired a director, Jason Winer, and has been actively casting the other parts. Now that order has been formalized by CBS. 20th Century Fox TV, where Kelley was based for 22 years before moving to Warner Bros. TV in 2008, is producing.
Even without the big commitment, giving the project a production order was a no brainer. Let’s face it, you can’t judge a Robin Williams-starring vehicle without seeing it as he rarely sticks to the script. His improvisations on his previous TV series, Mork & Mindy, were so hard to contain, Garry Marshall added a fourth camera to the three-camera format for him, thus ushering in the multi-camera comedy setup that is used til this day. Williams will go with one for the single-camera David E. Kelley comedy, written by The Practice and Ally McBeal creator. It is set in the world of advertising and would star Williams as a brilliant ad executive working alongside his daughter. As he often does, Kelley wrote the script on spec. He is executive producing with frequent collaborator Bill D’Elia, Winer, Dean Lorey, John Montgomery and Mark Teitelbaum. With its timing, CBS’ official green light for Crazy Ones comes on the same day Kelley’s new TNT medical drama series Monday Mornings premieres. Kelley and Williams are with WME, Kelley is with attorney Michael Gendler.
Seitzman’s Intelligence hails from ABC Studios where the North Country writer is under an overall deal. The project’s prospects got a boost late last week when David Semel came on to direct and executive produce. Semel had been attached to NBC’s Ironside remake. He is no longer involved in that project, which remains in serious contention at NBC with Blair Underwood, who is under a development deal at NBC, potentially playing the lead. Based on unpublished book Dissident by John Dixon, Intelligence is centered at US Cyber Command, and focuses on a unit that has been created around one agent with a very special gift, a microchip that has been implanted in his brain that allows him to access the entire electromagnetic spectrum. The premise of Intelligence, which has a procedural element, is reminiscent of CBS’ Person Of Interest, in which a duo tries to prevent crimes with the help of a top-notch computer program. Coincidentally (or probably not), the pilot for Person Of Interest was also directed by Semel who most recently helmed the TNT drama pilot Legends. Semel executive produces Intelligence with Seitzman and feature producer Tripp Vinson (Red Dawn). This marks the second consecutive pilot for Seitzman who had drama Americana in contention at ABC last year and the second ABC Studios pilot at another broadcast network, joining Hatfields & McCoys at NBC. (The studio pulled out of Alice In Wonderland when it was recently picked up by NBC). Seitzman and Semel are with WME.
Anatomy Of Violence, from 20th Century Fox TV and Gordon’s studio-based Teakwood Lane, already had a hefty pilot production commitment. Inspired by the non-fiction book The Anatomy Of Violence: The Biological Roots Of Crime by Adrian Raine, it was written/executive produced by Gordon, Gansa and Cary. Cary joined the project after Gordon and Gansa originally sold it. The drama centers on a criminal psychologist with an expertise in sociopaths who partners with a young female detective with whom he shares a conflicted past. Teakwood’s Hugh Fitzpatrick is co-executive producing. Anatomy Of Violence is one of three pilots Gordon is exec producing, along with FX’s Tyrant and TNT’s Legends. Gordon and Gansa are repped by WME and attorney Michael Gendler.