NBC has kicked off the drama buying season with two high-profile buys: Salvation (working title), from Law & Order veteran Warren Leight, Paul Haggis (Crash) and Sony TV, which has received a pilot production commitment, and Walking Lions, from Homeland and Tyrant co-creator Gideon Raff, Keshet and Universal TV, which was a pre-emptive buy.
NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke referenced the two projects as examples of the network’s ability to attract top projects and talent in a time of intense competition from cable and digital platforms.
“There are still people who love network television and have passion for the (NBC) brand,” Salke said. “We have to be talent-friendly and make the case why the show should be on NBC. The longer we stay strong and aggressive the better we will do.”
NBC has been very aggressive for the past few years, willing to shell out big commitments for projects it wants.
Written by Leight and to be directed by Haggis, Salvation begins on Fourth of July weekend. A summer storm unexpectedly intensifies and changes track to New York Harbor. Power goes out. Flood waters rise. Most Brooklyn hospitals are forced to evacuate. With few doctors on call, and without any warning, the recently downsized Our Lady of Salvation now becomes the borough’s last viable trauma center. Salvation, the first real-time hospital “extreme event” drama, will capture the life-and-death choices nurses, PA’s and other front-line caregivers make as they struggle to provide care and triage.
Leight and Haggis executive produce. This marks a return to NBC and first sale for Leight since he segued from his stint as showrunner on the network’s Law & Order: SVU to his overall deal with Sony TV this summer.
Based on the international bestseller, Waking Lions is an edge-of-your-seat thriller with shocking twists and turns wrapped around a medical franchise. When a Beverly Hills doctor, driving home from work late one night, inadvertently hits and kills a pedestrian and decides to flee the scene, his life changes forever. The victim’s wife finds the doctor’s wallet at the scene, but instead of turning him into the police, she decides to blackmail him. The stakes are raised further when the doctor’s wife becomes the lead police investigator for the hit-and-run case. Thus begins a gripping and suspenseful story filled with secrets, lies, extortion and ultimately redemption.
Raff executive produces with Keshet’s Avi Nir, Alon Shtruzman, Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan. The project reteams Raff, creator of Israeli drama Prisoners of War, on which Homeland was based, with Keshet, the company behind the original. It stems from U.S.-based arm Keshet Studios’ first-look deal with NBC and co-production pact with Universal TV.