EXCLUSIVE: Law & Order: SVU and ER veteran Neal Baer has teamed with feature producers James Mangold and Cathy Konrad and Reaper creators Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters for a medical drama, which has been set up at CBS. The project is based on the book Your Medical Mind by renowned physicians Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband.
Inspired by their lives, the show focuses on a husband and wife – one a surgeon, one an internist – who end up working together in the same hospital. Their unique approaches to medicine — and different ways of dealing with tough ethical issues — will lead them to examine the state of their own marriage. “It’s about how they navigate their marriage now that they’re working together for the first time,” Baer said. “I’d love to see the medical world though the prism of marriage.” The project is produced by CBS TV Studios, where Baer and Fazekas & Butters are under overall deals and Mangold and Konrad serve as executive producers on the studio’s new CBS drama Vegas. Mangold and Konrad’s Treeline Film and Baer’s Baer Bones co-produce.
Mangold and Konrad, whose company has the rights to the book, brought it to CBS Studios’ head of drama Julie McNamara through their relationship on Vegas. She, in turn, reached out to Baer, who has strong medical background as a practicing pediatrician and a writer-producer who spent five years on NBC’s ER. “I loved the book,” said Baer, who had another reason to join the project — Hartzband was one of his attending physicians when he was at Harvard Medical School. Baer then brought in Fazekas and Butters who were among his key senior writer-producers on Law & Order:SVU, which he ran for 11 seasons. Baer, Fazekas and Butters will write the story together, with Fazekas and Butter penning the script. The three will executive produce with Mangold and Konrad.
This is not the first time a fictionalized version of Groopman would be the lead of a medical TV drama. ABC’s Gideon’s Crossing was loosely based on Groopman’s book The Measure Of Our Days, with the lead character played by Andre Braugher based on Groopman.
Under his overall pact with CBS TV Studios, Paradigm-repped Baer ran the studio’s supernatural medical drama A Gifted Man last season. ICM Partners-repped Fazekas and Butters have served as consulting producers on the CBS/CBS Studios drama Hawaii Five-0.