EXCLUSIVE: ABC, which is rebooting its iconic series NYPD Blue, also is looking to bring back another 1990s New York cop drama, Dick Wolf’s New York Undercover. I hear ABC is in talks for a new incarnation of New York Undercover, which will be written by Hand of God creator Ben Watkins. The project from Wolf Entertainment is expected to be a co-production between Universal TV, where the company is based, and ABC Studios.
Wolf would executive produce with Watkins and Wolf Entertainment’s Arthur Forney and Peter Jankowski.
Created by Wolf and Kevin Arkadie, New York Undercover aired on Fox for four seasons, between 1994-98. It starred Malik Yoba and Michael DeLorenzo as two undercover detectives in New York City’s Fourth Precinct. It was the first police drama on American television to feature two people of color in the starring roles.
Wolf’s agent, WME’s Rick Rosen, hinted at the project during a Paley Center Q&A on Tuesday night, where he said that Wolf “is reviving one of his shows from years ago – it’s a franchise you can redo” that “doesn’t necessarily have to have the same cast” to make it a success. He noted that there were multiple networks bidding on it.
I hear ABC and New York Undercover‘s original network, Fox, were interested in the revival. As a procedural, New York Undercover can be reinvented with new characters and cast. Even the original series rebooted itself in the fourth and final season with a largely new cast joining Yoba and Season 2 addition Lauren Velez as the other series regulars exited.
Wolf already has a series order from NBC for a new Law & Order series, Law & Order: Hate Crimes, to launch next season. He currently has veteran Law & Order: SVU and the three Chicago dramas on NBC and freshman FBI on CBS. This would be his first series on ABC since the 2003 Dragnet reboot, which aired for one season.
Meanwhile, ABC is currently casting its NYPD Blue pilot.
Watkins created and served as showrunner of Hand of God, which ran for two seasons on Amazon. He also executive produces Apple’s upcoming series Are You Sleeping, starring Octavia Spencer, Lizzy Caplan and Aaron Paul. Previously, Watkins rose from staff writer to executive producer over the seven-season run of USA’s Burn Notice. He is repped by WME and Hirsch Wallerstein.