EXCLUSIVE: NBC‘s The Blacklist, a drama about a criminal working with the FBI from Sony Pictures TV and Davis Entertainment, is among the hottest new series this fall. Now NBC, Sony and Davis Entertainment are teaming for another hourlong project about a criminal, this time set at the CIA. Written by feature writer Greg Poirier (National Treasure 2), Wolfe, which has received a script commitment with penalty, is described as a tongue-in-cheek high-stakes show that sends up the spy genre. It centers on an enterprising criminal who discovers the CIA’s biggest agent, Westley Wolfe, is actually a fake, an invented hero meant to distract the public from their recent failures. The criminal assumes the spy’s identity and steps into his sexy world-travelling life. The CIA can’t out him or else they’d be outing themselves. Poirier and Davis Entertainment’s John Davis and John Fox executive produce. In TV, Poirier, repped by WME and Anonymous Content, previously created the ABC thriller drama Missing starring Ashley Judd. Davis Entertainment has two new series on the NBC fall schedule, The Blacklist and Ironside.
Universal Pictures is developing a reality-based action film centered around the recruitment and training of Secret Service agents. The studio has optioned a cover story in the Washington Post Magazine by Laura Blumenfeld, and set Greg Poirier to write the script. Poirier’s work includes The Spy Next Door and National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and he is writing the Ashley Judd-starrer Missing for ABC. Double Feature Films partners Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher will produce. Blumenfeld went through the training program to write her article and it included shooting weapons, hand-to-hand combat, psychological and other training methods. The Secret Service differs from most law-enforcement branches in that applicants don’t need a law enforcement background to apply. That lends an everyman aspect to a film that will follow a group of aspirants who go through the training program to become agents. There hasn’t been a good Secret Service agent movie since In the Line of Fire, which is surprising considering the high stakes.
In her first regular TV series gig, Ashley Judd is close to a deal to topline ABC’s action series Missing (aka Safe aka Hall of Mirrors). The project, from feature writer Greg Poirier, was once slated for summer but now eyes a fall launch, with early September as a possibility. Missing, whose premise somewhat echoes the Liam Neeson starrer Taken, centers on Becca Winstone (Judd), a devoted single mom who, after her 18-year-old son disappears in Italy where he’d been working on architecture fellowship, takes it upon herself to travel to Europe and track him down. It soon becomes clear that Winstone is a former CIA agent who will stop at nothing to bring her son home alive. Steve Shill, who won an Emmy in August for his directing work on Dexter, is on board to direct multiple episodes of the series, including the opener. He will also executive produce with Poirier, Grant Scharbo and Gina Matthews. Production is scheduled to begin late next month in Rome, Vienna and Prague. Missing, from ABC Studios and Matthews and Scharbo’s Little Engine Prods., was put on fast-track development in early fall with an order for 3-5 backup scripts. WME-repped Judd next stars in the Warner Bros. film Dolphin Tale. Her memoir All That is Bitter & Sweet is being released on April 5. Judd’s only major series gig until now was a recurring role on Sisters.
ABC has picked up a second new original scripted series for next summer: Missing (aka Safe aka Hall of Mirrors). The project, from feature writer Greg Poirier (National Treasure: Book of Secrets) and Grant Scharbo and Gina Matthews, the producers behind ABC’s 2010 summer series The Gates, was put on fast-track development in early fall with an order for 3-5 backup scripts. Missing, produced by ABC Studios and Matthews and Scharbo’s Little Engine Prods., centers on a worried mom who, after her son disappears in Italy while overseas for a summer internship, takes it upon herself to travel to Europe and track him down. It soon becomes clear that this isn’t any ordinary woman, but a former CIA agent who will stop at nothing to bring her son home alive. Steve Shill, who won an Emmy last in August for his directing work on Dexter, is on board to direct multiple epidodes of the series, including the opener. He will also executive produce with Poirier, Scharbo and Matthews.
ABC seems to be sticking to its strategy of running original scripted series in the summer, putting on the fast track a new project from feature writer Greg Poirier (National Treasure: Book of Secrets) and Grant Scharbo and Gina Matthews, the producers behind ABC’s recent summer series The Gates. Steve Shill, who just won an Emmy for his directing work on Dexter, is reportedly attached to direct the pilot for the untitled spy drama eyed for next summer. While it has received a script order, there is already talk about 3-5 back-up scripts. And feelers have been sent out to writers to join the potential series. The project, from ABC Studios and Scharbo and Matthews’ Little Engine, is a female-centered spy show described as Taken meets The Bourne Identity. ABC had mixed results with its original scripted series this past summer: Canadian import Rookie Blue was the top-rated new scripted series of the summer and has been renewed for a second season, The Gates had middling ratings, while Scoundrels fizzled. That was better that the summer of 2009 when The Good Family, Defying Gravity and Surviving Suburbia all crashed and burnt. ABC already has 2 female-friendly spy dramas in the works for next season: remakes of Charlie’s Angels and True Lies.