After a lengthy screening and decision-making process for their two pilots Longmire and Big Mike, A&E brass just passed on one of them, Big Mike. No official decision has been made on Longmire yet, but buzz on the project starring Matrix standout Robert Taylor has been strong, and I hear that A&E is leaning heavily toward picking it up to series. Based on the Walt Longmire Mystery series of novels by Craig Johnson, Longmire is named after its central character, Walt Longmire (Taylor), the charismatic, dedicated and unflappable sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyo. Widowed only a year, he is a man in psychic repair but buries his pain behind his brave face, unassuming grin and dry wit. Co-starring in the Warner Horizon-produced pilot, which was directed by Chris Chulack, are Katee Sackhoff, Lou Diamond Phillips, Bailey Chase and Cassidy Freeman. Hunt Baldwin and John Coveny wrote the project and are executive producing with Greer Shephard and Mike Robin. The Sony TV/Happy Madison-produced Big Mike, written by Ed Decter and John Strauss and directed by Paris Barclay, starred Greg Grunberg as a plus-size detective with the San Diego Police Department. A&E recently renewed Breakout Kings for a second season, with its other scripted series, The Glades, also appearing on track for a third-season renewal.
EXCLUSIVE: Heroes, Alias and Felicity alum Greg Grunberg is heading to cable as the lead of A&E’s hourlong pilot Big Mike. In the project, co-produced by Happy Madison and Sony Pictures TV, Grunberg will play the title character, a plus-sized detective and a force of nature in the San Diego PD. One of the best in his field, he gets things done, knows all the right people, gets along with everyone, and knows all the best places to eat. His greatest challenge in his romantic life. I hear Grunberg’s casting lifts the contingency on the pilot despite the fact that Grunberg is formally in second position to NBC’s Love Bites. He was upped to a regular on the NBC anthology dramedy after a memorable guest stint in the pilot. But the series, once scheduled for a fall launch in the Thursday 10 PM slot is yet to get a premiere date and its order has been cut from 13 to 9. There Is Something About Mary co-writers Ed Decter and John Strauss wrote Big Mike and are exec producing with Doug Robinson.
Meanwhile, Camille Guaty (Vegas) has joined the cast of another hourlong cable pilot, USA’s Eden. The project, from Universal Cable Prods., was written by Ken and Mary Hanes, with Jace Alexander directing. It centers on a young hotel worker (Nick D’Agosto) who, …
EXCLUSIVE: A&E is launching its next pilot season with cast-contingent pilot orders to two hourlong projects, Big Mike and Longmire. Both are male-centered shows in the mold of A&E’s two series on the air, The Glades and the upcoming Breakout Kings. And Big Mike, which hails from Adam Sandler’s comedy-driven Happy Madison and Something About Mary co-writers Ed Decter and John Strauss, appears to share the light tone of The Glades.