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‘Fairly Legal’ Creator Michael Sardo Steps Down, Peter Ocko Tapped As Showrunner

By | Friday May 20, 2011 @ 1:37pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Fairly Legal creator Michael Sardo has stepped down as executive producer and showrunner of the USA Network dramedy. Former Pushing Daisies executive producer Peter Ocko has been tapped as the new exec producer/showrunner on the series for its upcoming second season.

The changeover is part of USA’s plan for creative changes on Fairly Legal going into Season 2. When USA recently renewed the freshman series, the network’s co-president Jeff Wachtel indicated that the decision was based on the show’s appealing star, Sarah Shahi, and its potential but noted that there is room for improvement. “We think there is a creative and audience upside to the show,” Wachtel said back then. “Not every first season is the best, and we think it is a show that can do better.” While a solid performer — Fairly Legal launched as the top new cable drama of the year in adults 18-49 and has averaged a 4.6 million total viewers in Live+7 — the legal dramedy was not a breakout hit like most of USA’s recent series. Fairly Legal producer Universal Cable Prods is currently negotiating with Sardo about a potential future role on the show. Sardo is behind another high-profile UCP project — he is the creator/executive producer of the studio’s pilot Normal (formerly untitled Michael Sardo) for Lifetime. The drama pilot starring Carrie-Anne Moss is in contention for a series pickup at the cable network, with Sardo set to executive produce. (Additionally, Sardo serves as an exec producer on America’s Smartest Kids, a realty show in development at USA/UCP sibling Syfy). Read More »

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Carrie-Anne Moss To Star in Lifetime Pilot

By | Tuesday December 14, 2010 @ 12:47pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: The Matrix star Carrie-Anne Moss has been tapped as the lead in Lifetime’s untitled Michael Sardo pilot. The project, from writer-executive producer Michael Sardo and Universal Cable Prods., centers on Ann Brown (Moss), New York’s premiere celebrity psychologist. With her life and marriage in shambles, she leaves town to join her sister, the Dean at a teaching hospital, to become the chief of staff of the hospital’s psych ward. There, she rediscovers her love for helping people while reconnecting with her sister, despite their volatile history. Gerard Bocaccio is executive producing the pilot with Sardo, while Timothy Busfield is set to direct.

Moss, repped by WME and manager Elizabeth Hodgson, is the latest feature actress to headline a cable pilot. Moss started off on TV, with roles on such series as Dark Justice, Models Inc. and F/X: The Series, before her big breakthrough in the 1999 feature The Matrix, followed by memorable roles in Memento and Chocolat. In 2008, Moss starred opposite Joseph Fiennes in Ryan Murphy’s FX pilot Pretty/Handsome. The untitled Michael Sardo is one of five pilots ordered by Lifetime this year, along with Against the WallExit 19, Meet Jane and an untitled project from Josh Berman. The other four are in various stages of production.

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