EXCLUSIVE: Law & Order veteran Rene Balcer has come on board CBS‘ drama pilot The Ordained as executive producer/showrunner. Balcer has a history with the project, having helped the creator, journalist-turned-author Lisa Cullen, with conceptualizing the idea when she first conceived the show in 2011. Back then, Cullen took out Ordained as a pitch but it didn’t sell. Cullen went on to write it as a spec, developing it with her management company, The Shuman Co. The spec was sent out to TV studios last summer, landing at CBS TV Studios where studio-based Frank Marshall came on board as executive producer. After the script was picked up to pilot by CBS, the producers looked for a showrunner. Because of Balcer’s previous involvement, he was a top choice and was available, leading to his deal on the project. He will be executive producer alongside Marshall, Larry Shuman and A.B. Fischer. Directed by RJ Cutler, Ordained centers on Tom Reilly (Charlie Cox), the son of a Kennedy-esque family who leaves the priesthood and becomes a lawyer at a top New York firm to prevent his politician sister Packy (Hope Davis) from being assassinated. Sam Neill, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Jorge Garcia and Audra McDonald co-star.

Balcer is a 20-year veteran of the Law & Order franchise. He wrote an episode in the first season of the flagship Law & Order and joined the series in Season 2. He rose to executive producer before leaving in 2001 to executive produce and showrun spinoff L&O: Criminal Intent, which he developed with creator Dick Wolf. He recently sold a mystery drama project to USA, DarkNet, from Universal Cable Prods and Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment. Balcer, repped by UTA and Don Walerstein, also wrapped production on the first season of TF1 crime drama Jo starring Jean Reno, which he created and executive produces.