In a very competitive situation, ABC has landed a medical advocate drama project from David Marshall Grant (Nashville, Smash). The project, produced by Sheldon Turner and Jennifer Klein’s Vendetta Prods. and Warner Bros. TV, has received what I hear is a high-end put pilot commitment. The project is inspired by the real story of Turner’s former agent, Byrdie Lifson-Pompan. Lifson-Pompan was a top CAA literary agent whose roster included such heavyweights as Brett Ratner, Paul Haggis, Jim Sheridan and Jason Katims. She was misdiagnosed and her brain tumor went undetected until discovered by another doctor. She underwent surgery and fully recovered. Several years later, Lifson-Pompan, who also had other family members suffer from medical misdiagnoses, made a career change, leaving agenting after 22 years to pursue a career as a medical advocate. She teamed with Dr. Valerie Ulene, a medical doctor and a health education specialist, to launch Clear Health Advisors, a healthcare consulting and case management company that helps patients navigate the healthcare system, including getting an accurate diagnosis and finding the right treatment.
Lifson-Pompan and Ulene will serve as consulting producers on the drama project, which centers on a tough, resourceful and at the top of her game type-A business woman, who has a medical scare, only to be dangerously misdiagnosed, and experiences first-hand the hazards of our healthcare system. Shocking her friends and family, she leaves her career behind, becoming instead a brilliant and relentless advocate for anyone caught in the chaotic and ever-changing maze that is modern medicine. Grant will write the script and will executive produce with Turner and Klein. The project falls outside of Vendetta’s first-look deal with Sony TV and landed at WBTV because the studio’s top creative executive Susan Rovner had encouraged Turner to pursue Lifson-Pompan’s story for a potential TV series source material.
The Medical Advocate project, packaged by CAA, takes a new spin on the red-hot medical drama genre. It joins several other high-profile medical drama pitches sold in the past couple of weeks. CBS has given put pilot commitments to an untitled project from the Parenthood duo of Jason Katims and Sarah Watson set at a high-tech Silicon Valley hospital; and Code Black, based on Ryan McGarry’s feature documentary, from Michael Seitzman and Marti Noxon. The network also has an adaptation of the South Korean medical drama Good Doctor with Daniel Dae Kim producing as well as Austen’s Razor, centered on a character inspired by Arthur L. Caplan, an authority on bioethics, which has a production commitment. Fox has The Cure, from Malcolm Gladwell and Glenn Gordon Caron, also with a put pilot commitment; ABC has a drama from Amy Holden Jones with a significant penalty, and NBC has Critical, from Eva Longoria, John Glenn and Katie Lovejoy.
Vendetta also has in the works at Sony TV Blood Will Out, a limited series based on Kirn’s autobiographical book Blood Will Out: The True Story Of A Murder, A Mystery, And A Masquerade. Grant also wrote a medical drama project, Only Human, which went to pilot at CBS with Jamie Lee Curtis starring.