CBS Orders Drama From Bryan Cranston and David Shore, James Patterson Adaptation

Pilots 'Sneaky Pete' (Cranston and Shore) and 'For Justice' (Rene Balcer and Robert De Niro) join the network's drama slate.
Bryan Cranston  Associated Press

CBS's latest drama orders suffer no shortage of familiar names. The network has added a pilot from Bryan Cranston and David Shore — as well as an adaptation of James Patterson novel The Thomas Berryman Number from Rene Balcer and Robert De Niro.

Sneaky Pete received a sizable production commitment from CBS when it hit the marketplace in late November. The drama is written and exec produced by Cranston and House creator Shore. It revolves around a thirty-something con man who, after leaving prison, takes cover from his past by assuming the identity of his cellmate. "Sneaky Pete" hides from the mob while working for the cellmate's family bail bond business and takes down criminals worse than himself — discovering a family life he's never had and love with a woman who sees through his nonsense.

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The drama hails from Sony Pictures Television where Breaking Bad alum Cranston and Shore are under an overall deal. The duo share a common colleague: Cranston starred for Vince Gilligan and Shore is currently teaming with the Breaking Bad creator for SPT's midseason CBS drama Battle Creek. In addition to Cranston and Shore, Sneaky Pete will be exec produced by Cranston's Moon Shot Entertainment banner's James Degus, and Shore Z's Erin Gunn will be credited as a co-EP.

Pete marks Cranston's first pilot order and comes in his first year as a producer. He also developed comedy Dangerous Book for Boys at NBC this season. That comedy, based on Conn and Hal Iggulden's guidebook, remains in contention at NBC and has a penalty attached.

Written by Balcer, For Justice centers on a FBI agent working in the criminal section of Department of Civil Rights — caught between her radical family she was born into and the professional life she's made for herself. Based on Patterson's book, the author also serves as executive producer alongside De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, Bill Robinson and Leopoldo Gout. Berry Welsh is co-EP and the project comes from CBS Television Studios.

If For Justice does go, it will be the second Patterson-inspired series on the network. An adaptation of his novel Zoo nabbed a straight-to-series order in 2014, and will debut this summer. He signed a first-look deal with CBS Studios shortly after the Zoo pact.

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