EXCLUSIVE: One of the hottest filmmakers, Oscar winner Ben Affleck, and one of the best-regarded series creators, Glenn Gordon Caron, have teamed for The Middle Man, a crime drama series. The project, which was taken out last month with five outlets pursuing across broadcast, cable and digital, has landed at Fox with a pilot order. In his TV directing debut, Affleck is set to helm the pilot written by Caron who will serve as showrunner. The two are executive producing through Affleck’s Pearl Street Films, whose Chay Carter will also serve as an executive producer. Like most of Affleck’s movies, The Middle Man, from Fox, Pearl Street and Caron’s Picturemaker Prods., takes place in his native Boston. Described as a classic Boston crime story, it is set in the 1960s and tells the story of Rudy MacAteer, an FBI agent charged with taking down the Italian mafia, and his confidential informant, Irish-American gangster Mickey Flood. MacAteer’s efforts inadvertently give rise to the Irish mob, as he finds himself bending the laws he is governed by.
The Middle Man‘s genesis goes back to the 2009 filming in Boston of Affleck’s The Town when he and Carter met writers Michael Yebba (Ordinary Man) and Emilio Mauro (God Only Knows). An early version of the project was developed but it was moving on a slow track while Affleck was busy with Argo. He and Caron were introduced by WME, which reps both, and Caron came on board this summer. He wrote The Middle Man on spec based on a story he developed with Yebba and Mauro who will serve as co-executive producers on the pilot. Casting is expected to begin immediately, with production slated to begin in early 2014.
Affleck had been approached for TV directing gigs a number of times; this is the first time he has committed to helm a pilot. This marks the first TV project in more than a decade for Affleck whose longtime associate Carter is spearheading Pearl Street Films’ television expansion. Through his company with Matt Damon and Sean Bailey, LivePlanet, Affleck executive produced several TV shows in the early 2000s, including the drama Push, Nevada and docu series Project Greenlight.
Affleck is coming off a best film Oscar win for period drama Argo, which he directed, produced and starred in. That was his third feature as a director following the well received Gone Baby Gone and The Town. Affleck is currently in the headlines as an actor because of his high-profile casting as Batman in Zack Snyder’s Batman vs. Superman. Among Pearl Street’s upcoming projects is Live By Night, Affleck’s next feature directing vehicle. Other projects include Race To The South Pole, about the 1911 competition between explorers Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott to reach the South Pole, with Casey Affleck starring as Scott; and Whitey, a biopic of infamous Boston mobster Whitey Bulger, to star Matt Damon, Ben and Casey Affleck. Caron, managed by 3 Arts, created hits Moonlighting and Medium as well as cult drama Now And Again. In addition to Middle Man, Caron, who just came out of a long-term deal at CBS TV Studios, is executive producing drama Sparks, based on the case files and life of renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks, which has received a script commitment plus penalty at NBC. Affleck and Caron are also repped by Ziffren; Yebba is with Intellectual Artist Management.