EXCLUSIVE: Fox has given a put pilot commitment to a hourlong medical drama inspired by world-renowned neurologist and bestselling author Oliver Sacks, from Blindspot executive producer Alex Berger, director-producer Lee Toland Krieger (Prodigal Son, You, Riverdale), Fabrik Entertainment (Bosch, The Killing), The Imaginarium (Mowgli, Breathe, The Ritual) and Warner Bros. TV, where Berger and Krieger are both under deals.
Written by Berger and to be directed by Krieger, the Untitled Oliver Sacks Medical Project is inspired by Sacks’ books The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and An Anthropologist on Mars. The fictional, character-driven medical drama explores the magic and wonder of the human brain. Part medical mystery, part character study, the project is a hopeful story about the power of empathy as a tool for healing.
Berger executive produces with Krieger. Henrik Bastin and Melissa Aouate executive produce for Fabrik, a Red Arrow Studios company, along with Jonathan Cavendish for Imaginarium. Fabrik VP Abbey Morris will produce. The project is a co-production of Warner Bros. TV and Fox Entertainment.
“Oliver Sacks radically altered how the public responded to the neuro-atypical and mentally ill with his extensive research and written works on his patient’s perplexing brain disorders,” said Fabrik Partners Bastin and Aouate in a joint statement. “Sacks helped to remove the stigma associated with mental irregularities and we’re thrilled to be working with Alex Berger and Lee Toland Krieger, who share an incredible vision for how to tell this inherently dramatic story. We couldn’t be prouder to be partnered with Imaginarium and Warner Bros. to produce this series for Fox Network, whose ability to showcase and market premium, impactful dramas has long inspired us.”
Sacks, who died in 2015 at 82, was a humanist, a passionate explorer of the human consciousness and arguably the most famous doctor of modern times. Dubbed by The New York Times a “poet laureate of contemporary medicine,” Sacks dove into dedicated his life to studying the strangest and most mind-boggling brain disorders in the world as a window into human consciousness, and he believed in remaking our approach to the mentally ill and neuro-atypical.
His book, Awakenings, also was made into a Best Picture Oscar-nominated 1990 film starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams.
Fabrik originally teamed with Serkis and Cavendish’s The Imaginarium to produce a TV drama series inspired by Sacks last year. Sacks’ life also was the subject of a TV drama project that received a script commitment at NBC in 2013. Titled Sparks, the project was executive produced by Medium creator Glenn Gordon Caron and Michael London (Milk).
“Andy Serkis and I are excited to bring these extraordinary case histories and legacy of the unique and brilliant Oliver Sacks to the screen,” said Jonathan Cavendish, co-Founder and co-owner of The Imaginarium.
Krieger directed and executive produced the pilot for Fox’s breakout new drama series Prodigal Son. He also directed and executive produced the pilot for Lifetime/Netflix’s hit drama You directed multiple episodes of the CW’s Riverdale, including the pilot, and the first two episodes of offshoot, the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix, on which he is an exec producer.
Berger has worked on Blindspot since the first season, rising to executive producer. His other credits include The Mentalist and Frankin & Bash.
Fabrik’s credits include Amazon’s Bosch, the upcoming Interrogation on CBS All Access, AMC/Netflix’s The Killing, HBO’s Nordic, and USA’s Burn Notice.
London-based Imaginarium’s film production credits include Mowgli, Breathe and The Ritual, and recent TV credits include Death and Nightingales for the BBC and Fungus the Bogeyman for Sky One.
Fabrik is repped by UTA and attorney Jared Levine. Imaginarium is repped by Pam Black and P.J. Shapiro at Ziffren Brittenham. Berger is repped by Literate and Morris Yorn. Krieger is repped by UTA, Anonymous Content, and attorney George Davis.