After successfully spinning off its Chicago franchise, NBC is looking to do the same with The Blacklist, its drama from Sony TV and Davis Entertainment. The network is pursuing a potential offshoot series toplined by X-Men star Famke Janssen. Like with the Chicago series, the network is taking a planted spinoff approach, with Episode 322 of The Blacklist, which airs May 12, serving as a pilot for the potential new series. It is written by The Blacklist creator/executive producer Jon Bokenkamp and exec producer/showrunner John Eisendrath and will be directed by Michael Dinner (Justified, Masters of Sex).
Janssen will be introduced in the May 5 episode before the planted spinoff. She will play Susan “Scottie” Halsted; it will be the female lead if NBC proceeds with the series, a decision that likely will be made in the next month and a half.
No details are being provided on Janssen’s character or the storyline for the spinoff, but I hear that Scottie Halsted was conceived to be to Tom (Ryan Eggold) what Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) is to Liz (Megan Boone). Actresses in their 60s and 50s were considered for the role. Making Episode 322 a planted spinoff was contingent on finding a star name to play Scottie, with the contingency lifted by the casting of Janssen. UPDATE: Joining Janssen and Eggold in the spinoff as a series regular is Edi Gathegi, reprising his recurring role as Mr. Solomon from the mothership series.
The spinoff was created by Bokenkamp and Eisendrath, who executive produce with The Blacklist exec producers John Davis and John Fox.
The Blacklist, now in its third season, was a breakout hit for NBC when it launched in fall 2013. The drama has been dinged in the ratings since it was moved from its lofty Monday 10 PM perch to anchor NBC’s struggling Thursday lineup at 9 PM but it has done a respectable job in its challenging new slot and continues to be very strong in delayed viewing.
In addition to The Blacklist offshoot, NBC has Episode 21 of Chicago P.D., which serves as a planted spinoff for a fourth Chicago series, Chicago Justice.
In TV, Janssen, co-star of The X-Men and Taken franchises, recently toplined the Netflix series Hemlock Grove and recurred on ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder. She is repped by ICM Partners and Brookside Artist Management.