EXCLUSIVE: In what will instantly become one of this season’s highest-profile drama projects, I hear that Ethan Hawke and Vince D’Onofrio have teamed with writer-producer Chris Brancato for a cop drama that has been nabbed by NBC with a production commitment. Brancato conceived the project, titled Blue Tilt, and took it to Hawke and D’Onofrio, who helped shape it. All three will executive produce. The show will star Hawke and D’Onofrio as two seasoned homicide detectives — one married and one divorced — as they solve cases while dealing with their wives/ex-wives and kids. The title Blue Tilt refers to a cop term for homicide detectives who, as a result of dealing with particularly brutal crimes, become a danger to themselves and are put under psychiatric observation. I hear that the pilot is targeted for a production start by the end of the year in New York, where both Hawke and D’Onofrio live. The two actors are old friends and co-starred in the 2009 feature Staten Island together, while Law & Order: Criminal Intent star D’Onofrio worked with Brancato on the final season of the Law & Order spinoff, on which Brancato served as executive producer/showrunner. This marks D’Onofrio’s return to NBC, where Law & Order: CI started before moving to cable sibling USA Network. Blue Tilt will be produced by newly renamed Universal Television, which also produces the Law & Order franchise. CAA-repped Hawke will next be seen in The Woman In the Fifth, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, and is about to start Scott Derrickson’s untitled thriller for Summit. On the TV side, the Oscar-nominated actor recently toplined Fox’s pilot Exit Strategy. D’Onofrio, repped by UTA and the Collective, just wrapped Fire with Fire and Chained. For 13 years, WME-repped Brancato was partnered with producer Bert Salke in Brancato/Salke, which was dissolved in summer 2010.