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: 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.