John Slattery To Headline Fox’s AI Drama Pilot ‘neXT’

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

EXCLUSIVE: Mad Men alum John Slattery has been tapped as the lead of neXT, Fox’s AI thriller drama pilot from 20th Century Fox TV.

This marks the first broadcast pilot for Slattery since his seven-season run on AMC’s Mad Men as Roger Sterling, which earned him four Emmy nominations. It is his first broadcast series regular role in a decade and a half, since Greg Berlanti’s 2014 CW drama Jack & Bobby. I( hear new Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier, who has a relationship with Slattery from his long tenure as head of AMC, was involved in bringing the actor to the the broadcast network. (Collier also reportedly was involved in getting Tom Payne, alum of another AMC series, The Walking Dead,  for the lead of Fox’s drama pilot Prodigal Son in recasting.)

Written on spec by Manny Coto and directed by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, neXt is described as a propulsive, fact-based thriller grounded in the latest A.I. research. It features a brilliant but paranoid former tech CEO, Paul Leblanc (Slattery), who joins a Homeland Cybersecurity Agent (Fernanda Andrade ) and her team to stop the world’s first artificial intelligence crisis: the emergence of a rogue AI with the ability to continuously improve itself. Marrying pulse-pounding action with a layered examination of how technology is invading our lives and transforming us in ways we don’t yet understand, the series also presents us with a villain like we’ve never seen before, one whose greatest weapon against us is ourselves.

Slattery’s Paul Leblanc is extremely intelligent. People think he may be a sociopath but he’s really just a narcissist with money instead of social graces. Eve Harlowe, Aaron Moten, Gerardo Celasco and Michael Mosley co-star.

Coto executive produces alongside Requa and Ficarra, who also direct, and Charlie Gogolak of Zaftig Films for 20th TV where Zaftig is under a deal.

Slattery is the latest big name Fox landed for one of its drama pilots this season, along with Michael Sheen, Stephen Dorff, and Tim Hutton.

Slattery recently reunited with Mad Men creator Matt Weiner for an appearance on his Amazon series The Romanoffs. He also had a recurring role on HBO’s Veep and will be seen in the Amazon anthology series Modern Love. In features, Slattery was seen in Spotlight and Churchill and has played Howard Stark in several Marvel Universe films, including Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War and Iron Man 2. On Broadway, Slattery most recently starred  in The Front Page opposite Nathan Lane. He is repped by Gersh and Untitled.

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