EXCLUSIVE: Hurt People, GK-tv’s drama project starring and executive produced by William Petersen, has landed at Cinemax. The HBO sister network has ordered a pilot from the project, which marks Petersen’s return to television after his nine-year starring turn on CSI. Written by Peter Macmanus, Hurt People centers on Hollis Brown (Petersen), a veteran hitman employed by the crime family that killed his wife. Brown has been enlisted to hunt down his estranged daughter who is intent on destroying those responsible for her mother’s death. Petersen is executive producing the pilot with his producing partner Cynthia Chvatal, Macmanus and GK-tv’s Graham King, Tim Headington and Craig Cegielski. Macmanus’ manager Beth Stine is attached as supervising producer. After they liked the original script by former AMC production executive-turned-writer Macmanus, Petersen and Chvatal teamed with GK-tv to develop it. The project was taken out a month ago, targeting mosty cable networks because of its darker tone.

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Petersen is the biggest star so far to join Cinemax’s fast-growing slate of mainstream original programming, adding cache to the network that already has attracted A-list creative auspices like Alan Ball and Frank Spotnitz. Hurt People marks the first pilot order at Cinemax, whose recent originals Strike Back and the upcoming Hunted and Banshee went straight to series. With Petersen on board, Hurt People could also become a strong international seller like Strike Back and the Melissa George-starrer Hunted. During his tenure on CSI, the crime drama was the most watched series on American television and ranked several times as No. 1 in the world, making Petersen a global TV star. On the feature side, Petersen will next be seen opposite Steve Carell and Keira Knightley in Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World. UTA reps Macmanus and Petersen, who is also with attorney Clifford Gilbert-Lurie