CBS is keeping the number of its summer original drama series at three. As it recently opted to end Under The Dome after three seasons and Extant after two, the network has given a 13-episode straight-to-series order to American Gothic, a twisty family drama from writer Corinne Brinkerhoff (Jane The Virgin) and Under The Dome and Extant producers, Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV and CBS TV Studios. American Gothic will air next summer, joining fellow newcomer, comedic thriller BrainDead, and returning freshman Zoo.
Written/exec produced by Brinkerhoff, American Gothic — not related to the 1995 CBS series or the Grant Wood painting — centers on a prominent Boston family that is attempting to redefine itself in the wake of a chilling discovery that links their recently deceased patriarch to a string of murders spanning decades — amid the mounting suspicion that one of them may have been his accomplice. James Frey of Full Fathom Five, where the idea for the project originated, also executive produces, along with Amblin TV’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank.
The project was put in development last fall with an eye toward a straight-to-series order under CBS’ summer drama business model involving a short SVOD window. American Gothic will follow that template, and CBS is beginning conversations with Amazon (its streaming partner on Under The Dome, Extant and BreanDead), and Netflix (home of Zoo). CBS recently extended its deal with Amazon for three more summer series, though the 2016 spot in that agreement has been fulfilled by BrainDead, so any American Gothic discussions would be separate.
“With American Gothic, Corinne Brinkerhoff has created the perfect CBS summer mystery, filled with suspense, intrigue and an explosive ending that will leave you breathless,” said CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller. “It feels like a compelling summer novel that we can deliver to our viewers in 13 one-hour chapters.” The series will be distributed domestically by CBS Television Distribution and worldwide by CBS Studios International.
Jane The Virgin co-executive producer Brinkerhoff, who is under an overall deal at CBS Studios, has ties to Beantown. She studied television at Boston University’s School of Communication. On a BU spring break alumni-networking trip in 2003, she met with alum David E. Kelley, landing an internship at his DEK Productions, which led to a job as his personal assistant. While working as an assistant, Brinkerhoff pitched ideas for Kelley’s drama Boston Legal. She ended up writing a spec that became a much-talked-about episode centering on a pregnant teen’s lawsuit against a Catholic hospital where she was refused emergency contraception while treated for rape.
Next for Brinkerhoff was a staff writing job on CBS/CBS Studios drama The Good Wife. Her three-year stint on the legal drama, during which she moved up the ranks, landed her an overall deal with CBS Studios. As part of that, she worked as co-executive producer on the studio’s CBS mystery drama Elementary. Last summer, she switched genres, joining CBS Studios’ critically praised CW dramedy Jane The Virgin as a co-executive producer.
Brinkerhoff is repped by UTA and attorney Ken Richman.