A new take on the Street & Smith pulp series The Avenger is in the works at The CW with Neal Baer and Conde Nast Entertainment, which owns Street & Smith. The untitled drama project, from CBS TV Studios where Baer is under an overall deal, is described as an updated Biopunk version of The Avenger. Written by Deric Hughes and Benjamin Raab (Warehouse 13), it tells the story of Alice Benson, a young woman who, in the wake of her parents’ murder, discovers she possesses a superpower as a result of genetic bio-hacking which allows her to transform her appearance at will. Alice will use her face-altering talents to investigate the mystery of her parents’ deaths and uncover the origins of her strange ability. The original 1939 Street & Smith magazine series centered on Richard Benson, who was avenging the killing of his daughter Alice and his wife.
Diane Haithman is a Deadline contributor.
This morning members of the press got a first look at the first episode of CBS’ Under The Dome at CBS Studios in Studio City. The heavily promoted 13-episode summer series from Steven Spielberg and Stephen King premieres June 24 at 10 PM. But there also is an interesting story beneath Under: The series, from Lost veteran Brian K. Vaughan (who developed Under The Dome with co-creator Stephen King, whose dystopian novel inspired the show) and executive producer Neal Baer, took a long journey from concept-in-development at Showtime to CBS.
A little history: A few years ago, Vaughan had a meeting at DreamWorks, which had the rights to King’s novel. “They said they were thinking about taking it to Showtime to do an ongoing series,” Vaughan says. “It was in development for a really long time at Showtime and they were terrific. But I think when it came time to pull the trigger, they thought it was not a perfect fit for the direction that Showtime is headed. But [Showtime president] David Nevins thought: ‘This is a terrific script. I’m going to call [CBS entertainment president] Nina Tassler and see if it’s a better fit for CBS.’ ”
Related: Hot TV Teaser: CBS’ ‘Under The Dome’
EXCLUSIVE: Law & Order: SVU and ER veteran Neal Baer has teamed with feature producers James Mangold and Cathy Konrad and Reaper creators Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters for a medical drama, which has been set up at CBS. The project is based on the book Your Medical Mind by renowned physicians Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband.
Inspired by their lives, the show focuses on a husband and wife – one a surgeon, one an internist – who end up working together in the same hospital. Their unique approaches to medicine — and different ways of dealing with tough ethical issues — will lead them to examine the state of their own marriage. “It’s about how they navigate their marriage now that they’re working together for the first time,” Baer said. “I’d love to see the medical world though the prism of marriage.” The project is produced by CBS TV Studios, where Baer and Fazekas & Butters are under overall deals and Mangold and Konrad serve as executive producers on the studio’s new CBS drama Vegas. Mangold and Konrad’s Treeline Film and Baer’s Baer Bones co-produce.
Jessica Shulman has been tapped to run Neal Baer’s newly launched production company Baer Bones Inc. Former Law & Order: SVU showrunner Baer is finishing the first year of a three-year overall deal at CBS TV …
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
There have been some changes on CBS’ A Gifted Man, starring Patrick Wilson as an ultra-competitive surgeon whose dead ex-wife (Jennifer Ehle) begins appearing to him, since the pilot for the supernatural medical drama written by Susannah Grant and directed by Jonathan Demme was shot. ER and Law & Order: SVU veteran Neal Baer was brought in as showrunner; actress Rachelle Lefevre was cast as a new regular, as a doctor, in as part of the effort to beef up the medical procedural element of the show; Pablo Schreiber was upped from guest star to regular; and Julie Benz, who plays Wilson’s sister, renegotiated her deal to change her status from regular to recurring. Despite all the changes, “we didn’t retool,” Baer, who is a licensed pediatrician, said at the show’s TCA panel this afternoon. “It’s the same show, the same characters. The pilot sets up the relationship between (Wilson’s and Ehle’s characters), and the next episode is a week later. … So there’s no retooling at all. There’s medicine in the pilot and there’s medicine in the next episode.”
UPDATE 1:40 PM: Outgoing Law & Order: SVU executive producer/showrunner Neal Baer has been tapped as executive producer/ showrunner of A Gifted Man. This marks his first gig under his new overall deal at CBS TV Studios, …
Warren Leight is returning to the Law & Order franchise as executive producer and showrunner of NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Leight is finalizing a deal to succeed Neal Baer, who, after 11 year at the helm of SVU, is leaving the crime drama at the end of the season to segue into a rich three-year overall deal with CBS TV Studios. With an experienced showrunner like Leight in place, NBC and Dick Wolf have solved one of the two issues SVU faces in its quest for a 13th season. The other is re-signing stars Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni, whose deals are up at the end of the season. The two have just started talks with the network, with the pace of the negotiations expected to pick up during the next couple of weeks.
After 16 years at NBC – 5 on ER and 11 on Law & Order: SVU – Neal Baer is heading to CBS. In a competitive situation, Baer has signed a three-year overall deal with CBS Television Studios. The pact, said to be in the high-seven figures, includes development as well as showrunner services. It starts on June 2, a day after Baer’s contract on SVU expires. Baer has been the executive producer/showrunner on SVU since the series’ second season. With him departing and the deals of stars Mariska Hargitay and Christopher Meloni up at the end of this season, the future of the veteran NBC crime drama is in limbo.