In one of the first big sales of the 2019-20 broadcast development season, CBS has given a series production commitment to The Lincoln Lawyer, a legal drama from The Practice creator David E. Kelley based on Michael Connelly’s series of bestselling novels. The project hails from A+E Studios, which will co-produce with CBS TV Studios.
Written by Kelley, The Lincoln Lawyer centers on Mickey Haller, an iconoclastic idealist, who runs his law practice out of the back of his Lincoln Town Car, as he takes on cases big and small across the expansive city of Los Angeles.
Kelley will executive produce with Connelly and Ross Fineman.
The high-profile project, which marks Kelley’s return to broadcast, was taken out by A+E Studios just before the upfronts, with CBS quickly snapping it.
The Lincoln Lawyer stems from a previous spec script Kelley had written which A+E Studios acquired a year or so ago, setting it up at Epix. While that premium project did not move forward there and has been put in turnaround, Kelley indicated to A+E Studios brass that he was looking to return to broadcast with an eye toward the legal drama genre, and The Lincoln Lawyer was a title he was interested in.
A+E Studios’ team tracked down the books and jumped in immediately to acquire the rights when they became available. Lionsgate TV had previously owned the rights and developed a Lincoln Lawyer TV series, which had been set up at ABC, after its movie studio sibling produced the 2011 movie starring Matthew McConaughey as Michael “Mickey” Haller.
Kelley is coming off writing, executive producing and showrunning HBO’s hit Big Little Lies, currently in its second installment. He also created and executive produces Goliath on Amazon and Mr. Mercedes on Audience and the upcoming The Undoing on HBO.
Once a broadcast king with such hits as the Emmy-winning The Practice, Ally McBeal and Picket Fences, Kelley had stayed away from network TV since creating the 2013 CBS comedy The Crazy Ones starring Robin Williams.
This marks the latest legal drama for Kelley, who is a lawyer, following L.A. Law, The Practice and its spinoff Boston Legal, Ally McBeal and Goliath.
This would marks the first broadcast series for A+E Studios, which has upcoming Hulu series Reprisal, The Liberator on Netflix, American Princess on Lifetime, returning Project Blue Book on History as well as a pilot in contention at Pop.