In a dream pairing, the man of the hour, Vince Gilligan, coming off a best series win on Sunday for his hit AMC drama Breaking Bad, has teamed with House creator David Shore for Battle Creek, which has closed at CBS with a series production order for the 2014-15 season. The drama project, which I hear has a 13-episode commitment, was originally created by Gilligan a decade ago. It comes from Sony TV, which produced Breaking Bad and has an overall deal with Shore. Sony will co-produce with CBS TV Studios, with Gilligan, Shore and Breaking Bad EP Mark Johnson executive producing. Shore will serve as showrunner, with Gilligan interested in directing. It’s been a very strong last few days for Sony TV, which scored a best drama series win on Sunday for Breaking Bad, a strong opening for its new NBC series The Blacklist on Monday, followed by the series order for Battle Creek today.
Battle Creek centers on two detectives with very different world views who are teamed up. They must answer the question: is cynicism, guile and deception enough to clean up the semi-mean streets of Battle Creek, Michigan in the face of a complete lack of resources; or is the exact opposite true – it takes naïveté, trust and a boatload of resources? The deal brings the project back to CBS where Gilligan, pre-Breaking Bad, developed it in 2002. While the script didn’t go forward at the time, I hear it stayed on entertainment president Nina Tassler’s radar as she considered revisiting it multiple times. Meanwhile, after Breaking Bad wrapped production on its final season, Sony TV and ICM Partners paired their marquee drama creators Gilligan and Shore. (Gilligan’s overall deal at Sony TV is up but there have been discussions for a new one.). Gilligan and Shore took a pass at the original script and the project was taken to CBS.
This is Gilligan’s second post-Breaking Bad series; he also is executive producing AMC/Sony TV’s Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul. Shore is also with the Shuman Co.