Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
There have been some changes on CBS’ A Gifted Man, starring Patrick Wilson as an ultra-competitive surgeon whose dead ex-wife (Jennifer Ehle) begins appearing to him, since the pilot for the supernatural medical drama written by Susannah Grant and directed by Jonathan Demme was shot. ER and Law & Order: SVU veteran Neal Baer was brought in as showrunner; actress Rachelle Lefevre was cast as a new regular, as a doctor, in as part of the effort to beef up the medical procedural element of the show; Pablo Schreiber was upped from guest star to regular; and Julie Benz, who plays Wilson’s sister, renegotiated her deal to change her status from regular to recurring. Despite all the changes, “we didn’t retool,” Baer, who is a licensed pediatrician, said at the show’s TCA panel this afternoon. “It’s the same show, the same characters. The pilot sets up the relationship between (Wilson’s and Ehle’s characters), and the next episode is a week later. … So there’s no retooling at all. There’s medicine in the pilot and there’s medicine in the next episode.”
A Gifted Man executive producer Sarah Timberman explained that Grant’s deal was always structured so she wouldn’t be working on the series full-time “because she knew going into this that she had a feature commitment beyond the pilot.”
Referring to Wilson, Baer also admitted that he hasn’t been so excited about an actor on a series he’s worked on since his time on ER and a fellow named George Clooney broke out. “I worked with Clooney, I worked with Mariska (Hargitay), and now I’m working with Patrick and Jennifer and Margo (Martindale). I see the dailies and it’s like, ‘Oh my God, I am so lucky.’ “