EXCLUSIVE: Jan Nash is joining TNT‘s flagship drama series Rizzoli & Isles as executive producer/showrunner. She will succeed creator/executive producer Janet Tamaro, who stepped down as showrunner in September, right after the series wrapped production on Season 4. One of the first orders of business for Nash and her writing team will be dealing with the death of Rizzoli & Isles co-star Lee Thompson Young, who committed suicide in August during the filming of the second-to-last episode of Season 4. His death was not addressed in the final episodes of Season 4 and will be dealt with at the opening of Season 5. Rizzoli & Isles is TNT’s No. 1 show of all time and the No. 2 scripted series in the history of ad-supported cable television, behind only AMC’s The Walking Dead. The series reunites Nash with Warner Bros TV and its cable division Warner Horizon. She previously worked with the studio on another TNT drama series, Memphis Beat, as well as CBS procedural Without A Trace. Nash, repped by WME, started her career on the ABC comedy Ellen.
UPDATE, 12:25 PM: Production on TNT’s hit drama Rizzoli & Isles has been shut down in light of the sudden passing of co-star Lee Thompson Young, whose body was discovered in his apartment after he failed to show up for work this morning. The producers of the series, in which Thompson played star Angie Harmon’s partner on the force, are currently evaluating whether to resume production tomorrow or go on hiatus while the cast and crew cope with Young’s death and writers figure out how to write off his character. Here is TNT, Rizzoli & Isles‘ studio Warner Bros TV and executive producer Janet Tamaro’s statement today on Young’s death: “Everyone at Rizzoli & Isles is devastated by the news of the passing of Lee Thompson Young. We are beyond heartbroken at the loss of this sweet, gentle, good-hearted, intelligent man. He was truly a member of our family. Lee will be cherished and remembered by all who knew and loved him, both on- and offscreen, for his positive energy, infectious smile and soulful grace. We send our deepest condolences and thoughts to his family, to his friends and, most especially, to his beloved mother.”
PREVIOUS 11:30 AM: Rizzoli & Isles co-star Lee Thompson Young has died in apparent suicide. He was 29. “It is with great sadness that I announce that Lee Thompson Young tragically took his own life this morning”, said Young’s long-time manager Jonathan Baruch. “Lee was more than just a brilliant young actor, he was a wonderful and gentle soul who will be truly missed. We ask that you please respect the privacy of his family and friends as this very difficult time.” Young played Detective Barry Frost on TNT’s flagship drama Rizzoli & Isles, which was just renewed for a fifth season. He started his acting career early as the lead of Disney Channel’s first original series, The Famous Jett Jackson, executive produced/directed by Shawn Levy. “I am stunned and truly saddened by the news of Lee’s passing,” Levy said.