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Ben Affleck to Direct, Exec Produce Fox Crime Drama Pilot

"The Middle Man" hails from "Medium" and "Moonlighting" Emmy nominee Glenn Gordon Caron.

Ben Affleck Horizontal Two - H 2013
AP Images
Ben Affleck

Fox is going into business with Oscar winner Ben Affleck.

The network has given a pilot order to The Middle Man, a crime drama set to be executive produced and directed by the Argo writer-director. 

The drama is based on a story developed by Medium and Moonlighting Emmy nominee Glenn Gordon Caron, who penned the script for the pilot. 

Set in the 1960s, The Middle Man explores the unique relationship between Rudy MacAteer, an FBI agent charged with taking down the Italian-American mafia, and his confidential informant, Irish-American gangster Mickey Flood. As Rudy finds himself forced to bend the laws he pledged to enforce, the duo’s actions inadvertently give rise to the Irish-American mob in this timeless Boston crime saga.

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Affleck, who last month was tapped to play Batman in the Warner Bros. Pictures Man of Steel sequel, will direct the pilot and executive produce the Pearl Street Films drama alongside Caron. Pearl Street Films' Chay Carter (Affleck's Argo, The Town, Gone Baby Gone) also will exec produce the pilot, which is poised to begin production in early 2014. The project originated in 2009 when Carter and Affleck met with actor-screenwriter Michael Yebba (Ordinary Man) and screenwriter Emilio Mauro (God Only Knows) during production on The Town. The script is based on a story developed by Caron, Yebba and Mauro. 

The Middle Man will be produced by Fox and Pearl Street Films, with Yebba and Mauro on board to co-executive produce. 

For Affleck and Matt Damon's Pearl Street Films, The Middle Man joins a growing slate that includes Live By Night, Affleck's next feature-directing vehicle. Other projects in the pipeline include historical adventure feature Race to the South Pole, and Whitey, a biopic about Boston mobster Whitey Bulger starring Damon, Affleck and Casey Affleck.

For Fox, meanwhile, The Middle Man marks the network's second pilot order for the 2014-15 broadcast season. It joins the previously announced straight-to-series college comedy from 30 Rock's Tina Fey, Matt Hubbard and Robert Carlock.

Affleck is a two-time Oscar winner and most recently directed, produced and starred in Academy Award winner Argo. He made his directorial debut with 2007's Gone Baby Gone, for which he also co-wrote the screenplay. 

Caron created Moonlighting, which during its run garnered 42 Emmy nominations, nine Golden Globe noms and six WGA noms, among other awards season mentions. His credits include Picture Perfect, which he also co-wrote, Love Affair and TV's Now and Again and Medium.

E-mail: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit