Sought-after pilot director David Semel is spoken for this season, as he has been tapped to helm CBS’ drama pilot Madam Secretary, starring Tea Leoni. The project, from creator/exec producer Barbara Hall and exec producer Morgan Freeman, explores the personal and professional life of a maverick female Secretary of State (Leoni) as she drives international diplomacy, wrangles office politics and balances a complex family life. WME-repped Semel has directed the pilots for such series as American Dreams, Heroes, No Ordinary Family, Person Of Interest and most recently TNT’s Legends and CBS’ Intelligence.
Related: Tea Leoni To Star In CBS Drama Pilot ‘Madam Secretary’
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EXCLUSIVE: David Semel is in final negotiations to direct TNT’s recently greenlighted drama pilot Legends. Developed by Howard Gordon, Jeffrey Nachmanoff and feature writer Mark Bomback from the novel by Robert Littell, the project follows a deep-cover operative who has an uncanny ability to transform himself into a different person for each job. Fox 21 produces, with Gordon, Nachmanoff, Alex Cary and Jonathan Levin executive producing. WME-repped Semel has directed the pilots for such series as American Dreams, Heroes, which earned him an Emmy nomination, No Ordinary Family and, most recently CBS’ Person of Interest.
EXCLUSIVE: Director-producer David Semel has joined Fox’s 13-part docu-series Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey, which is executive produced by Seth MacFarlane. Additionally, I hear the project, a sequel to Carl Sagan’s groundbreaking 1980 series, will also get a film treatment with an IMAX release. Semel is slated to direct all 13 episodes of the series as well as the related Cosmos feature. He also is expected to serve as an executive producer alongside MacFarlane, Sagan’s widow Ann Druyan and Mitchell Cannold, president of the Ithaca, NY-based Cosmos Studio, which will produce the series for Fox, with a second window on National Geographic. MacFarlane conceived the Cosmos redo with Sagan’s original collaborators – writer/producer Druyan and astrophysicist Steven Soter, with renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson stepping in for Sagan as new host.
Like the 1980s series, which featured jaw-dropping for its time visual effects that allowed Sagan to walk through space, the new series and its big-screen offshoot also are expected to employ the latest special effects that should play especially well on the IMAX screens. Semel has experience blending narrative and visual effects, having directed the pilots for 2 superhero drama series, NBC’s Heroes and ABC’s No Ordinary Family. Cosmos reunites Semel with Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly, who ran NBC when Semel directed the pilots for the network series Heroes and Life. WME-repped Semel most recently helmed the pilot for CBS’ high-profile … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Lost alum Michael Emerson is set as a lead in Jonah Nolan’s CBS drama pilot Person of Interest, which is being executive produced by Lost co-creator/exec producer J.J. Abrams. The project, from Warner Bros. TV and Abrams’ Bad Robot, is a crime drama centered on an ex-CIA agent, presumed dead, who teams up with a mysterious billionaire (Emerson) to prevent violent crimes in New York City. The pilot is being directed by Heroes‘ David Semel. In addition to Person of Interest, Emerson also was offered the ABC drama pilot Once Upon a Time.
Emerson and Abrams originally reunited for a different project this development season, action drama Odd Jobs, which was to star Emerson and fellow Lost co-star Terry O’Quinn, with Abrams producing and Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec writing. The project landed at NBC in September but was recently pushed. Emerson is with Abrams and Vanguard Management.
EXCLUSIVE: David Semel has been tapped to direct Jonathan Nolan’s CIA drama pilot Person of Interest, which is being executive produced by J.J. Abrams. The CBS project, from Warner Bros. TV and Abrams’ Bad Robot, is a crime drama centered on a CIA agent, presumed dead, who is recruited by a reclusive billionaire to wage war against violent criminals in New York City. Semel has directed the pilots for such series as NBC’s Heroes, A&E’s The Cleaner and, most recently, ABC’s No Ordinary Family.