Late author Robert B. Parker’s estate has announced that his signature Spenser and Jesse Stone mystery novel series will continue. Parker died at his home in Cambridge, Mass., on Jan. 18, 2010 at age 77. Michael Brandman, who has co-written and produced the CBS TV movies that feature Tom Selleck as the tortured alcoholic detective Stone, will write the first Stone novel. Titled Robert B. Parker’s Killing the Blues, it will be published Sept. 13, 2011.
Brandman goes way back with Parker, and aside from the Stone telepics, he also produced three Spenser novel adaptations for A&E. Parker’s earlier Spenser novels formed the basis for the Spenser For Hire series that starred Robert Urich, and his Western series was turned into the Ed Harris-Viggo Mortensen pic Appaloosa. The new Spenser novels will be written by Ace Atkins, who has written such novels as White Shadow, Infamous and Wicked City. His first Spenser novel will be releases spring of 2012. Parker’s 39th and final Spenser novel, Sixkill, will be released by GP Putnam in May. It looks like Parker’s lone female detective series based on Sunny Randall might be done. Parker created that series with the intention of it being turned into a feature film series at Sony Pictures, with Helen Hunt right after that actress won the Oscar in 1997 for As Good As It Gets. The film series never got off the ground, but Parker kept writing the books.
Parker was one of my favorite authors, and though you never felt that Spenser, Hawk, Susan Silverman or Jesse Stone were ever in any real danger they couldn’t handle, his sparse prose and his hardened heroes went down as comforting and familiar as chicken soup. Not sure how I’ll feel about continuing with either series done by another author: I stopped being interested in Journey when Steve Perry left the band and haven’t read another Jason Bourne mystery since Robert Ludlum died or 007 since Ian Fleming died. I’ve always found it hard to latch onto successors who didn’t put in the sweat and struggle to create the characters or the songs that made for the original successes, and that has always turned me off. But this is big business, and it’s worth it for the estate and Putnam to try keeping Parker’s distinctive brands alive. I just don’t think anybody else can write them like he did.
EXCLUSIVE: This is why so many Hollywood creatives don’t understand the decisions of the networks and the Big Media corporations who run them. Because here’s a show that’s doing well in its primetime slot. And just a few days ago, freshman … Read More »
Part of a series that takes an analytical look at the current broadcast pilot season and some of its trends and heroes.
Maybe it’s the Tom Selleck/Kathy Bates effect, but the broadcast networks seem more open than ever to shows fronted … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: CBS is about to find out how big a hit it has on its hands with Blue Bloods. I’m hearing the freshman Tom Selleck drama — which has been averaging a healthy 12.3 million viewers on … Read More »
New CBS drama series Blue Bloods has completed assembling its team following the recent departure of executive producer & showrnner Ken Sanzel. Two new producers have joined the show: helmer Fred Keller (Boomtown, 24, House) as producer & director … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: I learned this morning that Tom Selleck hasn’t been accepting the scripts which CBS’ Blue Bloods executive producer Ken Sanzel has been giving him. So a standoff developed over character vs procedural visions for the series, summarized to me as “creative tension”. By midday, Sanzel was still staying with the show. No more. Insiders just emailed me that the former New York cop told the staff late today that he is leaving. There’s no exit date yet. “He’s a stand-up guy; he won’t leave the network or studio hanging,” a network source explains. “Simply creative differences. It happens. He was brought in after the pilot as a showrunner to set the show up. We often do this for pilots picked up to series that have great writers but who haven’t run shows before.” Now, to replace Sanzel, Selleck wants to find ”his guy” who must also meet with studio/network approval. Unfortunately this turmoil is especially embarrassing because it’s executive produced by Leonard Goldberg, a CBS Corporation board member.
Sanzel, a longtime Numb3rs showrunner, was handpicked by CBS and CBS Studios to executive produce with creators Mitchell Burgess and Robin Green, who continue with the show. ”Ken is a real take-charge tough guy and everyone knows it. They begged him to take the show. He was reluctant to do it. And Selleck was not crazy to have Ken imposed on hm. But Ken was doing the network bidding thanklessly,” an insider tells me. Sanzel’s vision was for a compelling crime procedural, whereas Selleck wanted softer character exploration. Sanzel knew the network was behind him. But Selleck wanted to be in charge of the show. “Too many cooks,” one of my insiders explains. “They love him at CBS. But Selleck realized it’s not the show he thought he was in. Ken calls Nina Tassler and says, ‘What do you want to do?’ And she says, ‘Let me talk to Tom.’” Today, it became clear to me it was just a matter of hours before Sanzel left the show. ”Not bail on them in one day. Just saunter off peacefully,” a source tells me. “If we were to count up every single show where there’s creative friction between actors and producers, we’d have a number like the census bureau.” Read More »
At the panel for CBS’ new cop/family drama Blue Bloods, the show’s writers-executive producers Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess were asked about departing the anti-hero drama genre they mastered on HBO’s The Sopranos to take on the CBS series starring Tom Selleck.
“We did the anti-hero for all those years, it … Read More »