Legal Drama From Bill Chais, Pat Cunnane, Jonathan E. Steinberg, Dan Shotz & Warren Littlefield In Works At ABC

Bill Chais, Pat Cunnane Personal Courtesy; Simon & Schuster

EXCLUSIVE: ABC is developing a legal drama written and executive produced by Bill Chais (Franklin & Bash), a former public defender, and Pat Cunnane (Designated Survivor), who was President Barack Obama’s Senior Writer and Deputy Director of Messaging at the White House. The drama is executive produced by the Black Sails duo of Jonathan E. Steinberg and Dan Shotz and Warren Littlefield via The Littlefield Company. 20th Television, where The Littlefield Company is based, is the studio.

In the Untitled North Carolina Governor project, a brash Bronx public defender comes to North Carolina to reform a dysfunctional, seriously underfunded criminal justice system, putting him on a collision course with the tough-on-crime governor, when, desperate and out of options, he invokes an arcane law that can compel any attorney to serve as defense counsel in criminal trials… and assigns the first case to the governor herself, an attorney in good standing.

Coincidentally, the current North Carolina Governor, Roy Cooper (D) also practiced law before entering public service.

Chais and Cunnane previously worked together — and with ABC — on the first two seasons of Designated Survivor. This marks the latest legal drama/dramedy project for Chais, following TNT’s Franklin & Bash, which he co-created, CBS’ Bull and NBC’s Chicago Justice and Bluff City Law. He most recently was the writer/showrunner on USA’s upcoming Nash Bridges revival movie with Don Johnson, and a consulting producer for NBC’s upcoming comedy series American Auto. He is repped by WME and The Shuman Company.

Cunnane has written multiple features in development, including Paramount’s remake of The President’s Analyst, and sold a pilot script to Comedy Central based on his memoir West Winging It.

This is the second series collaboration between Steinberg + Shotz and Littlefield; they also executive produce FX on Hulu’s upcoming drama series The Old Man, starring Jeff Bridges, John Lithgow and Amy Brenneman. Steinberg co-created the series as he did two other dramas he had worked on with Shotz, Black Sails and Jericho.

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