Exactly a decade after CBS launched the most recent CSI spinoff, CSI: NY, the network is at it again with a new planted spinoff, which will air as an episode of the venerable crime drama this spring. Just like CSI spinoff CSI: Miami and CSI: Miami offshoot CSI: NY, the new spinoff will be written by CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker, longtime CSI showrunner Carol Mendelsohn and former CSI: Miami showrunner Ann Donahue. The new series, from CBS Studios and Bruckheimer TV, will mark a departure from criminal forensics, which has been the subject of the first three CSI series, focusing instead on cyber crimes, an area Zuiker had been exploring for several years. The new project is not related to the Cyber Crimes drama Zuiker created for CBS four seasons ago. Inspired by the work of Irish cyberpsychologist Mary Aiken, the proposed CSI spinoff centers on Avery Ryan, Special Agent in Charge at the Cyber Crime Division of the FBI in Quantico, VA, who is tasked with solving major crimes that start in the mind, live online, and play out into the real world. Zuiker, Mendelsohn and Donahue are executive producing with Jerry Bruckheimer and Jonathan Littman. Aiken will serve as a producer. Given the new setting for the latest CSI spinoff, it is unclear if it would keep the CSI moniker or switch to a new one the way CBS did with NCIS, which was spun off from military drama JAG. CBS is looking to spin off both of its long-running crime procedurals this season with NCIS prepping a New Orleans-set planted spinoff starring Scott Bakula, which also will air as an episode in the spring.
Listen to (and share) the MIPTV edition of our audio podcast Deadline Festivals & Markets Watch, featuring Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione. Nancy and host David Bloom discuss trends shaping this year’s MIPTV show in Cannes, including the ongoing fight between reality and scripted drama supporters over which is the best way to go in global markets; Dark Knight and Man Of Steel scribe David Goyer’s latest project, Da Vinci’s Demons; and why CSI creator Anthony Zuiker won the Pioneer Prize for his brand-driven online series Cybergeddon. Nancy also looks ahead to likely highlights for the rest of the show.
In Cannes to receive the 2013 Pioneer Prize at the International Digital Emmy Awards tonight, CSI franchise creator Anthony E. Zuiker talked about NBC drama pilot Wonderland during a Q&A this afternoon. Zuiker, who’s exec producing the series, said the Whit Anderson-scripted show will follow Alice and a new character, Clara. Clara is “having the worst day of her life” when she is sent to Wonderland where it turns out her father has been living for several years. To get her life back on track, Clara must rise up against Wonderland’s reigning Queen, the woman once known as Alice. Deadline recently reported that the pilot will not be produced within the regular pilot season because of the scale and complexity of the production.
Zuiker also spoke about Cybergeddon, the series for which he’s being honored here at Mip-TV. The online thriller launched on Yahoo in September last year in 25 different countries and 10 different languages. Oliver Martinez and Missy Peregrym starred in the series about the growing threat of cybercrime. Notably, the series partnered with Symantec which helped on the tech aspect, but also featured heavily. “We explained the value to them for a (project with) a shelf life of 30 years,” Zuiker said. “A 30-second spot on CSI cost $1M” at the time, but “for that same $1M for Symantec, you make a movie with a shelf life. You can’t cut the brand out of the movie,” but an ad “goes away in the blink of an eye,” he explained. Zuiker noted that he’s developing projects that involve such brands as Samsung and Dr Pepper. “Bringing a product to life and seeing it in a different way is really exciting.”
Steve Levitan, Damon Lindelof, Tim Kring & Anthony Zuiker On Pilot Season, Network Notes, Agents, Ratings And Nikki Finke
Here are four top series creators — Modern Family and Just Shoot Me‘s Steve Levitan, Lost‘s Damon Lindelof, CSI‘s Anthony Zuiker and Heroes, Crossing Jordan and Touch‘s Tim Kring — sharing what they really think about pilot season, network notes, agents, Nielsen ratings as well as Nikki Finke and Deadline. …
An unscipted series, Discovery’s The New Detective, served as inspiration for Anthony E. Zuiker‘s mega-successful CSI crime drama franchise. Now he is embarking on a reality series inspired by his work on CSI. ABC has given a 9-episode order to Whodunnit?, a competition reality series from Zuiker and veteran unscripted producer Cris Abrego to air in the summer. The series, produced by Zuiker’s Dare to Pass and Abrego’s 51 Minds, echoes a classic whodunnit murder mystery with a pinch of Clue and The Mole thrown in. Whodunnit will feature 13 amateur sleuths pitted against each other in a quest to solve a series of puzzling murders “committed” by one of them as they use a variety of crime scene investigation techniques to uncover evidence. The contestants will stay in a glitzy estate where each week they must solve a new murder in order to advance in the game until only three are left standing. In the final episode, one player will unmask the killer and take home the $250,000 prize. “I’ve built a career telling crime stories, and if there is one thing that I’ve learned, especially from CSI, it is that the audience loves to solve the mystery,” said Zuiker. “Whodunnit? allows everyday fans to be in the show themselves, and get the chance every week to do what they love best, which is ultimately solve the case.” Zuiker and Abrego executive produce Whodunnit? Dare to Pass president Matt Weinberg serves as producer.
Anthony Zuiker found himself in a familiar situation today. In 1999, he was an up-and-coming feature writer with no TV experience who wrote a drama project for ABC Studios (then Touchstone TV) and one of its pods, Jerry Bruckheimer TV. After ABC passed on the pitch, it was taken to another network. But when the Touchstone TV-produced pilot was picked up to series by CBS in May 2000, the studio pulled out as the company’s leadership didn’t want a Disney-owned studio to deficit finance a series on another network. The project, CSI, spawned a $1 billion franchise.
This season, another up-and-coming feature writer with no TV background, Whit Anderson, wrote a drama project for ABC Studios and two of its pods, Zuiker’s Dare To Pass and Brillstein Entertainment, which collaborate on development. ABC again passed on the pitch, which landed elsewhere with ABC Studio attached. But when NBC today greenlighted the project, Alice In Wonderland, to pilot, ABC Studios was replaced by NBC sibling Universal Television. I hear that Uni TV stepped in after ABC Studios opted out.
Times have changed since 2000, and such studio defections are very rare, unless a project moves to the CW, a network only sister studios CBS TV Studios and Warner Bros. TV do business with. Besides CBS Studios, the other network-affiliated production arms have been actually looking to expand beyond supplying their own networks. ABC Studios has been particularly aggressive on that front. It sold three high-profile drama projects to NBC and just yesterday, one of them, the modern-day Hatfields & McCoys, got a pilot order. ABC Studios is producing that pilot but won’t do the same for the modern-day Alice In Wonderland one.
UPDATED: NBC has greenlighted Wonderland, a drama pilot set in the world of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland that is executive produced by CSI creator Anthony Zuiker. The project, written by feature scribe Whit Anderson, stems from Zuiker’s overall deal with ABC Studios, which has him partnering with studio-based Brillstein Entertainment Partners on development. But while the project was developed at ABC Studios, which sold it to NBC in October, the pilot will now be produced by NBC’s sibling Universal TV. (NBC greenlighted ABC Studios-produced drama pilot Hatfields & McCoys yesterday.)
Wonderland is set in modern times and centers on Alice and a new character, Clara. Seven years ago, Clara’s life took an unexplained turn for the worse, and a mysterious stranger tells her there may be an explanation after all… an explanation that lies in the fantastical world of Wonderland. To revive her dreams and get her life back on track, Clara must wage war against Wonderland’s reigning Queen, the woman we once knew as Alice.
EXCLUSIVE: From Las Vegas’ underbelly to Wonderland. NBC is finalizing a deal for Wonderland, a drama set in the world of Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland that will be executive produced by CSI creator Anthony Zuiker. The project, which will be written by feature scribe Whit Anderson, stems from Zuiker’s overall deal with ABC Studios, which has him partnering with studio-based Brillstein Entertainment Partners on development. Wonderland is set years after the events in the book and centers on Alice and a new character, Clara. Seven years ago, Clara’s life took an unexplained turn for the worse, and a mysterious stranger tells her there may be an explanation after all… an explanation that lies in the fantastical world of Wonderland. To revive her dreams and get her life back on track, Clara must wage war against Wonderland’s reigning Queen, the woman we once knew as Alice. “Whit Anderson is a true visionary,” Zuiker said. “Her reimagining of Alice In Wonderland blew us away and we are very excited to bring this to television.”
Wonderland will be produced by ABC Studios, Brillstein and Zuiker’s Dare To Pass banner. Zuiker and Anderson, both repped by CAA, will executive produce with Brillstein’s president of TV JoAnn Alfano and Zuiker’s long-time manager, Brillstein’s Margaret Riley. Dare To Pass president Matt Weinberg also is expected to produce.
The Alice In Wonderland concept is popular this season. The CW has in development Wunderland, a contemporary reimagining of Alice In Wonderland from McG and Chad Hodge. And Lionsgate TV is prepping a pitch after acquiring this summer Zenescope’s Wonderland graphic novels, a modern retelling of Carroll’s novel from the point of view of Alice’s daughter. ABC, of course, has elements from Alice In Wonderland featured in its fairytale drama Once Upon A Time, which is likely the reason the ABC Studios-produced Wonderland sold to an outside network.
EXCLUSIVE: CSI creator Anthony Zuiker has teamed with Gossip Girl executive producer Sara Goodman for Taboo, a new drama project that has been sold to ABC. It stems from Zuiker’s overall deal with ABC Studios, which has him partnering with studio-based Brillstein Entertainment Partners on development.…
LOS ANGELES- March 21, 2012- Anthony E. Zuiker, the visionary creator of the CSI franchise and his production company Dare to Pass, and Yahoo! Inc, the premier digital media company, today announced that casting and production will officially begin on the much anticipated “Cybergeddon” project, a groundbreaking motion picture event which will bring to life the growing threat of cybercrime. Written by Miles Chapman (“The Tomb”), “Cybergeddon” executive producers include Anthony E. Zuiker, Matthew Weinberg, President, Dare to Pass and Bill O’Dowd, CEO, Dolphin Digital Studios. True to his storytelling form, Zuiker has engaged Norton by Symantec to leverage its technical credibility and security insights to help inform and guide the narrative. Progressive financier and distribution company Dolphin Digital Media backed the project in a deal brokered and packaged by Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
EXCLUSIVE: In his first sale under the 3-year overall deal with ABC Studios he signed in July, CSI creator Anthony Zuiker has set up a drama project at ABC from World Trade Center writer Andrea Berloff. …