Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn Drama Series Gets CBS Put Pilot Commitment

Drama Sawyer & Huck, a modern-day take on the classic Mark Twain characters, has landed at CBS with a put pilot commitment. The project comes from Sony Pictures TV, studio-based Drop Dead Diva creator Josh Berman and CBS TV Studios.

Margolis and SonnierPenned by The Blacklist writers Brandon Margolis and Brandon Sonnier and to be directed by Anthony Hemingway (Shameless, Treme), Sawyer & Huck is described as a reimagining of the iconic characters of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn as adults in modern day America at a time that harkens back to the racial and class divides that inspired Mark Twain’s books. After a murder case brings them together in St. Louis, Tom Sawyer hires his previously estranged boyhood friend Huck Finn as an investigator for his foundering one-man legal firm and together they take on cases for people who don’t have anywhere else to turn.

Josh BermanTwain’s novels, especially The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn, deal with issues of race and identity in the segregated US. In a comic sequel, Tom Sawyer, Detective, Twain’s grown-up hero Tom attempts to solve a murder with the help of his best friend, Huck.

Executive producing Sawyer & Huck are Margolis & Sonnier, Berman, Marc Taylor and Hemingway.

The characters of Sawyer and Finn have been the subject of numerous screen adaptations. Three years ago, ABC developed a Tom Sawyer-Huckleberry Finn drama featuring the duo as 20-something investigators in a steampunk New Orleans. And this summer, comedic feature Band Of Robbers reimagined Sawyer and Finn as modern-day grownups on a crime spree.

Anthony_HemingwayBerman, repped by CAA and attorneys Ken Richman and Jason Hendler, began his career as a junior writer on the first season of CBS’ CSI, eventually rising to executive producer. He went on to create the Fox drama Vanished and worked on the network’s veteran procedural Bones before creating Drop Dead Diva for Sony TV and Lifetime. Under his current, fourth consecutive Sony overall deal, Berman has been serving as a consulting producer on the studio’s The Blacklist, where he got to work with Margolis and Sonnier.

Margolis and Sonnier, for whom The Blacklist was their first TV writing jobs, are repped by CAA, Tantillo Entertainment and attorney Stephen Clark.

Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy


  1. Chunky Yamagotchion Aug 21, 2015 11:18 am

    Maybe they can investigate where all the good ideas have gone…

  2. on Aug 21, 2015 11:21 am

    Fear The Public Domain

  3. kenny38606on Aug 21, 2015 11:28 am

    Really? A legal procedural?

    • percysowneron Aug 21, 2015 11:57 am

      It’s CBS, what else would they do?

  4. Jean-Claudeon Aug 21, 2015 11:43 am

    Ha ha ha perfect.

  5. no wayon Aug 21, 2015 11:47 am

    This is a joke, right? Why even call them Huck & Tom?

  6. Eric Scotton Aug 21, 2015 11:49 am

    Just Don’t Do It.

  7. Rogeron Aug 21, 2015 12:01 pm

    What does this concept have to do with Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn? These could be any two spunky friend characters.

    • Bill blankenshipon Aug 21, 2015 12:51 pm

      because the characters starred in a detective novel published in 1896.

      • on Aug 21, 2015 1:51 pm

        That was specifically parodying detective novels of the time. Unless this is also a parody then this makes no sense

        • Bill blankenshipon Aug 21, 2015 2:26 pm

          yes. this and most of his works, including The Adventures, are satire or burlesque. but most adaptations of said works aren’t.

          so, by your logic, almost every adaptation of Twain’s work “makes no sense”

  8. turnitupon Aug 21, 2015 12:09 pm

    “In this re-imagined version of the classic tale, Becky Thatcher is a high-powered New York ad executive with a secret after-sundown life as a vampire, while Injun Joe is now a wise Native American sage who dispatches critical wisdom in a single thirty-second scene per week that will be easy to cut for syndication.”

    In other words, pass.

  9. .....on Aug 21, 2015 12:14 pm


  10. RJCon Aug 21, 2015 12:15 pm

    Ridiculous. This is like the post-apocalyptic Little Women being developed by the CW. Why use the iconic character names when the concept is so different from the original?

    • Must See TVon Aug 21, 2015 12:39 pm

      Because with Tom and Huck they get popular public domain characters. It’s easier to sell and easier to market. It’s stupid but so what. Nobody cares.

    • Miffyon Aug 21, 2015 5:14 pm

      I wish Little Women were going to be on CBS. Then, those sisters would solve crimes!

  11. Chuckon Aug 21, 2015 12:35 pm

    Sonnier and Margolis are a class act. Two nice guys who deserve this shot. I’m cautiously optimistic for this show’s success.

  12. Great Idea!on Aug 21, 2015 12:49 pm

    I think this sounds like an incredible show! Absolutely love Drop Dead Diva and can’t wait to see what Berman and company will come up with here.

    • The Truthon Aug 21, 2015 12:53 pm

      You are obviously the co-writer or rep… You ain’t foolin NOBODY

  13. The Truthon Aug 21, 2015 12:52 pm

    Wait… Next up “Uncle Tom: P.I.”

  14. Anonymouson Aug 21, 2015 1:28 pm

    It will be retitled TWO BROKE BOYS.

  15. puking boxeson Aug 21, 2015 1:48 pm

    Sounds almost as good as Scorpion…

    The old people network does it again!

  16. NHBillon Aug 21, 2015 1:52 pm

    But it is curious that there has never been a strong film made from a Mark Twain book.
    Maybe the Coen Brothers could bring some True Grit to that effort.

  17. Juleson Aug 21, 2015 4:15 pm

    I think this will do quite well. Most of CBS’s audience fondly remembers the release of the original novels.

  18. bobbyon Aug 21, 2015 4:23 pm

    I just hope they use the N word a lot.

  19. Rob Clemenson Aug 21, 2015 5:08 pm

    Another “Modern-day take” on the classic characters . . . another colossal bout of lack creativity & originality. My most sincere wishes are for this series to have the same success as the film “I, Frankenstein” and the modern TV take on “Dracula” from a season ago. Now pardon me while I abandon the networks & search for a quality show on HBO, Showtime and Netflix.

  20. Georgeon Aug 21, 2015 7:15 pm

    Irony of this is that they are trying to adapt literature in the limited format of a procedural. Especially when the broadcast networks haven’t been very innovative since the 80s. The Golden Age of TV was started by the Cable networks. Broadcast TV missed an opportunity to be part of the current Renaissance.

  21. JOE S HILLon Aug 22, 2015 12:29 am

    They’ve got to be kidding! CBS and SONY,trying to do a Primetime series on Huck and Tom,,for real? how stupidly unrealistic is this? the last time TV viewers saw a Primetime TV show based on Mark Twain’s creations,was back on NBC in Fall 1968,when Hanna-Barbera Productions produced the live action and partially animated “THE NEW ADVENTURES OF HUCK FINN”,which was on,right before “THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF DISNEY”-now THAT was quite a series,
    because it starred live children actors,along with the late Ted Cassidy (“THE ADDAMS FAMILY”) as “Injun Joe”,pursuing Tom,Huck,and Becky Thatcher,in animated adventures,the likes of which,was never done for Primetime,until that TV season! extremely doubtful,that any TV series about Huckleberry Finn can possibly be done today,much less what today’s writers and producers would turn these charecters into,which is a chilling thought,alone! waste of time.

  22. Rodon Aug 23, 2015 9:25 pm

    Huck Finn & Tom Sawyer as criminal investigators in the latest lame brain
    CBS cop procedural. Who’d a thunk it?

  23. Rodon Aug 23, 2015 11:43 pm

    Starsky and Hutch re-imagined by CBS which doesn’t have any imagination or original ideas

  24. Rodon Aug 23, 2015 11:44 pm

    And everyone wonders why broadcast television is in the ratings toilet.

    • Yassireon Sep 1, 2015 1:05 pm

      CBS’ ratings are plenty big enough. NFL football WILL ALWAYS keep CBS competitive enough in the demo ratings race for the year. They also carry big event sports and awards programming year round, so they are light years ahead of the other broadcast networks overall. The other networks need to try to catch up with CBS when it comes to programming that pulls huge audiences that stick with the shows year after year. Mediocrity and the expectation of it has set in as the new standard of great at the other networks. Meanwhile CBS is the only broadcast network that could actually become a pay channel and make more money than HBO, SHOWTIME, and/or any other pay channel. That important fact will never change!

  25. CBS DOMINATESon Sep 1, 2015 12:52 pm

    This sounds awesome. I can’t wait to see this on the network. At a time when broadcast networks feel compelled to cater to the whims of the perverted internet entertainment blogger it’s nice to find an interesting show that doesn’t read like it came hot off the pervert express(wink).