Last month, ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke and EVP Development and Content Strategy Simran Sethi unveiled that they are ramping up their efforts to move its development process off-cycle, rebranding it a “second cycle.”
Today, the network handed its first second-cycle pilot order to medical drama Triage, which will be produced outside of the traditional pilot window. The 20th Century Fox TV-produced project comes from longtime Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer, Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu and Triage creator David Cornue.
The pilot order marks a culmination of a long journey for Triage and another example of a symbiotic relationship between labels of Disney Television Studios.
Triage originated as a spec script by Cornue written years ago. During the 2018-19 development season, it was used as source material for a medical drama, titled Triage, at Fox, written by Grey’s Anatomy‘s Zoanne Clack. The project, from Sonar Entertainment and OutEast Entertainment, was laid off at then-Fox sibling 20th Century Fox TV.
While that version did not go forward, 20th TV’s drama team believed in Cornue’s vision and kept working with him on honing it. He recently rewrote his script in-house at 20th TV, and the studio took it out as a spec in January to ABC.
The network brass loved the material. Chu, who is under an overall deal at 20th TV, was brought in as a director. Seasoned showrunner Messer, who is under an overall deal at 20th TV sibling ABC Studios, just became available having wrapped production on the 15th and final season of the venerable CBS/ABC Studios drama Criminal Minds. She sparked to Triage and was loaned out to 20th TV to take the reins of the pilot as showrunner.
20th TV previously let one of its top showrunners, Karin Gist, run ABC comedy series Mixed-ish for ABC Studios.
Created and executive produced by Cornue, Triage is a character-driven medical drama that follows a pioneering surgeon, Finley Briar, over three distinct decades at the same hospital. With the evolution of medicine as the backdrop, the show explores the interconnected careers, friendships and romances of Finley and her colleagues and their tenuous relationship with time.
On Triage, Messer is executive producer and showrunner via her Erica Messer Productions, Chu will executive produce and direct. Steven Marrs and Courtney Hazlett of OutEast Entertainment also executive produce alongside Caitlin Foito.
Messer 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 for the procedural drama’s last nine seasons. 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.
OutEast Entertainment is repped by Joel VanderKloot, VanderKloot Law.