Dick Wolf is branching out. The uber producer and NBC MVP, who has five drama series on the peacock network, has received a 13-episode order at CBS for a new procedural drama slated for launch during the 2018-2019 season. It will be Wolf’s first drama series to launch on a network other than NBC in 15 years, since the 2003 Dragnet reboot on ABC.
The new series, tentatively titled F.B.I., will chronicle the inner workings of the New York office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It will be a co-production between Universal Television, where Wolf has been based for a long time, and CBS TV Studios.
Former The Good Wife executive producer Craig Turk, will write the pilot episode and will serve as showrunner. He is one of the top drama writers on CBS TV Studios’ roster and was recommended for the job by that studio.
Wolf and Turk will executive produce with longtime Wolf collaborators Arthur W. Forney and Peter Jankowski.
F.B.I. will film a pilot during the regular pilot season in the spring before proceeding with the remaining 12 episodes from its order.
Wolf is one of the top drama producers of the past several decades with a rare double — two successful franchises, Law & Order and Chicago. One of the L&O series, Law & Order: SVU, is still on the air, heading into its 19th season on NBC where it is joined by the three Chicago series, Chicago Fire (season 6); Chicago P.D. (season 5) and Chicago Med (season 3) as well as the upcoming limited series Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders.
With Chicago rapidly expanding to four shows, it got harder for NBC to accommodate the entire Dick Wolf slate of procedurals. NBC at the end of last season opted not to renew the newest Chicago series, Chicago Justice, despite an OK ratings performance. With his NBC series load at capacity, it makes sense for Wolf to look to expand his procedural brand elsewhere, and CBS is the logical first destination since the network is known for its crime procedurals.
The origins of F.B.I. go back to the summer 2016 TCA, when Wolf revealed plans for a new New York crime drama set in the world of the FBI.
The project, which was to be introduced as a planted spinoff of Wolf’s New York crime drama, Law & Order: SVU, was subsequently put on temporary hold, in part because of the headlines the FBI was making at the time over the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the alleged Russian hack. Meanwhile, Wolf’s Menendez Brothers limited series got accelerated for fall 2017.
There still was an idea to introduce an FBI agent character on SVU this past spring but the network ultimately did not go through with it.
While F.B.I. had been dormant, the real FBI has continued to make headlines, and its director James Comey, who had been a source in the research for the potential series, was fired by President Donald Trump in May.
The FBI project was recently put back on the front burner. “We just started reviving these conversations with Dick,” NBC’s Bob Greenblatt, who oversees both NBC and studio Universal TV, told Deadline in August. “He wants to get another show on the air.”
And he did, this time on CBS.
On the unscripted side, Wolf produces Oxygen’s non-scripted Cold Justice and Criminal Confessions, and A&E’s Nightwatch. He is repped by WME.
Universal TV has history working with CBS and CBS Studios, most recently on the drama Pure Genius this past season. The company also has series on Fox (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and on streaming platforms like Hulu (The Mindy Project) and Netflix (Master Of None, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)