EXCLUSIVE: CBS has put drama Never Tell back in development with a new writer, Madam Secretary creator Barbara Hall. Based on the book by Selena Montgomery (nom de plume for Stacey Abrams), the project is from Abrams; Nina Tassler and Denise Di Novi’s PatMa Productions; and CBS Studios, where the company is based. It originally was set at CBS in November 2019 with Talicia Raggs as writer.
In Never Tell, penned by Hal based on the novel, in an effort to escape the dark secrets of her past, a brilliant linguist assumes a new identity as a professor in New Orleans and joins forces with an intrepid journalist and a local detective to tackle the toughest crimes in the city.
Hall and Abrams executive produce for CBS Studios alongside PatMa’s Tassler, Di Novi and Joan Boorstein. Daniel Simon is the PatMa exec overseeing the project.
A voting-rights activist, Abrams is the former Georgia House Minority Leader and the first Black person to lead in the state’s House of Representatives. The former Georgia gubernatorial candidate played a key role in boosting Democratic votes during the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden narrowly won the traditionally red state.
In addition to Never Tell, Abrams (under the pen name Selena Montgomery) is the author of romance suspense novels including Hidden Sins, Secrets and Lies, Reckless and Deception. She won both the Reviewer’s Choice Award and the Reader’s Favorite Award from Romance in Color for Best New Author and was featured as a Rising Star. Abrams also is the author of Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change, published by Henry Holt & Co. in April 2018, and she has published articles on public policy, taxation and nonprofit organizations.
Hall is among the most successful CBS drama creators of the past two decades. In her positions as head of drama, entertainment president and chairman of CBS, Tassler developed several projects with Hall, three of which went to series: the 1999 Judging Amy, one of Tassler’s first drama hits at the network; Joan of Arcadia; and Madam Secretary. PatMa teamed with Hall during the 2018-19 development season for drama Ms. Mayor, which also was set up at CBS. Hall is repped by Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Ziffren Brittenham.