As longtime Criminal Minds executive producer/showrunner Erica Messer is shepherding the drama’s upcoming 15th and final season, she has extended her exclusive overall pod deal with ABC Studios, the studio behind the long-running CBS series.
Under the pact, Messer is focusing on developing and executive producing original series for network, cable and streaming. That includes two projects for ABC, developed through her banner Erica Messer Productions: Best Kept Secret, which she is writing and executive producing, and Nightingale, which she is executive producing.
Best Kept Secret centers on a mother and ex-intelligence agent who’s long hidden her past from her family. She is forced to return to work when she discovers her daughter was tapped to join the same group she left years before.
Written and executive produced by Matt Partney and Corey Evett, who also are under an overall deal at ABC Studios, Nightingale is a sprawling, multi-generational family soap set within a high-stakes medical drama where the nurse is the hero. It is inspired by Partney’s experience growing up with three generations of nurses.
Finding a big, provocative soap is one of ABC’s top priorities this development season.
Messer executive produces both projects with Deborah Cincotta, President of Development of Erica Messer Prods.
In addition to Nightingale, Partney and Evett have drama Motor City Angels in the works at ABC Studios. They previously created the Oregon-centric, fantasy/procedural hybrid Staties, which received a pilot order at ABC. The duo were writer-producers on all three seasons of CBS/ABC Studios’ medical drama Code Black. They also worked on NBC’s The Night Shift, Kevin Williamson’s Stalker for CBS, MTV’s Teen Wolf and CBS’ CSI: Miami.
Partney and Evett, who have been writing together since 2001 when they worked together as assistants on Joss Whedon’s series Angel, are repped by Jackoway Austen.
Messer, who has been under a string of overall deals at ABC Studios since 2011, has spent nine seasons as executive producer/showrunner of Criminal Minds, keeping it steady through several instances of behind-the-scenes turbulence.
Aside from that, she served as an executive producer on praised documentary The Biggest Little Farm, which recently led the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards nominations. Messer, along with The Biggest Little Farm director and fellow executive producer John Chester, are developing future content around the documentary.
Messer began her career in the offices of Christopher Keyser and Amy Lippman’s Party of Five before launching her career as a writer on Alias. She did stints on The O.C. and Charmed before joining Criminal Minds as a co-producer in 2005, rising through the ranks to executive producer and showrunner. In addition to running the mothership series, Messer also created, executive produced and ran spinoff Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. She is repped by attorney Ken Richmon.