EXCLUSIVE: British TV writer-producers Simon Mirren and David Wolstencroft have come on board to rewrite Versailles, an English-language period drama series for French pay TV network Canal Plus. The duo will executive produce the 12-episode series, set at the Court of French King Louis XIV, alongside Anne Thomopoulos, who executive produces another European historical drama series, Borgia. On Versailles, co-produced by CAPA Drama and Zodiak’s Marathon, Mirren and Wolstencroft replace Mad Men‘s Andre and Maria Jacquemetton, who were signed for the project two years ago. Versailles is being fast-tracked for possible production start in early 2014. Zodiak Rights will handle worldwide distribution in non-English speaking territories.
In their first development season at Sony Pictures TV, showrunners Shawn Ryan and Simon Mirren have teamed for a crime drama. The untitled project has sold to CBS, where Mirren recently served as co-showrunner on Criminal Minds, with a put pilot commitment. The drama, which Mirren will write, does evoke Criminal Minds as well as Showtime’s drama Dexter. It is a procedural about a genetic scientist who uses his newfound discovery that he has the psychopath gene to help the FBI catch killers. The show, which Ryan and Mirren are executive producing, is inspired by the true story of UC Irvine Professor James Fallon, a brilliant but genetically flawed scientist who, while helping to unlock the mysteries of the genome code, discovered that he was a psychopath linked to a long line of serial killers, including axe murderer Lizzie Borden. The deal extends the trend this development season for the big put pilot commitment to go to A-list producers, including Ryan, Jerry Bruckheimer (the Aron Eli Coleite mom-turned-NY State Trouper drama at CBS), Dick Wolf (the Michael Brandt-Derek Haas firefighter drama at NBC) and Greg Berlanti (Marc Guggenheim’s legal drama at Fox).