EXCLUSIVE: Damages creators Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman and Glenn Kessler are heading to Netflix for their return to television. The streaming giant has given a 13-episode order to an untitled psychological thriller drama, which is produced by Sony Pictures TV, the studio behind Damages. Written and executive produced by the Kessler brothers and Zelman in their followup to the acclaimed FX/DirecTV legal thriller starring Glenn Close, the new series centers on a family of adult siblings whose secrets and scars are revealed when their black sheep brother returns home. “We’ve always wanted to put our spin on a family saga and examine universal themes of family in a way that has never been seen before on television,” the writers said. “The series is a tightly wound thriller that explores the complex bonds between parents and children, brothers and sisters, and the rivalries, jealousies, and betrayals at the core of every family.” The series is set to begin production in early 2014. “We were spellbound after hearing Todd, Glenn and Daniel’s pitch, and knew Netflix was the perfect home for this suspenseful family drama that is going to have viewers on the edge of their seats,” said Cindy Holland, VP of original content for Netflix. “Their work on Damages was truly ahead of its time.” This marks the latest original series for Netflix, which has only been a player in the arena for the past year. It joins David Fincher/Kevin Spacey’s House Of Cards, Eli Roth’s Hemlock Grove and Jenji Kohan’s Orange Is The New Black, all going into second seasons, Wachowskis’ recently ordered Sense8 and acquisitions Lilyhammer and Derek. “We are absolutely thrilled to be creating an original series for Netflix — a company committed to cutting-edge storytelling in a vibrant, new space,” the Kesslers and Zelman said. “We’re equally excited about our relationship with Sony Pictures TV, which continues to provide us with unwavering creative support.”
The deal for the project between Netflix and Sony TV, which took months to close, is breaking new ground as the first one on a new series between the streaming company and a major Hollywood studio, which required the creation of templates for auxiliary revenues, backend and all other elements of a traditional network agreement. 20th TV had such deals already in place from before when it revived Arrested Development for Netflix, which first started working with established studios through the Lionsgate TV-produced Orange Is The New Black. “The guys worked so hard to come up with the right idea after the success of Damages,” said SPT president of programming and production Jamie Erlicht. “It took almost a year to fully develop the pitch and their patience paid off with the incredible reaction in the community, especially at Netflix, the perfect home for this show.” Todd A. Kessler and Glenn Kessler began their careers as playwrights and worked together on CBS’ Robbery Homicide Division. Todd A. Kessler also worked on HBO’s The Sopranos and NBC’s Providence. Zelman’s first collaboration with the Kesslers was on The Inside, a series the brothers created for Fox. The trio is with CAA.