2:37pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Spike Scraps Jerry Bruckheimer Drama Series 'Harvest' (Exclusive)
Spike TV's push back into scripted originals has been delayed.
The Viacom-owned cable network has reversed course on its Jerry Bruckheimer drama Harvest, opting to cancel the series after problems casting the lead, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Insiders say that Spike extended unrealistic offers to high-profile actors — all of whom turned the lead role down — as the cabler also sought a top-name showrunner to oversee the drama.
Picked up to series with a 10-episode order in August after it was originally set up at A&E, the drama hailed from Warner Horizon Television and marked Spike's first pact with a major studio. Warner Horizon — Warner Bros. Television's cable-focused division — plans to shop the project elsewhere after sources say Spike wanted to attach a contingency to the order after the series deal closed and both parties had different expectations for the property.
12 Monkeys duo Ian Sobel and Matt Morgan were set to pen the drama, which centered on a father working two jobs to support his teen daughter. By day he's a cemetery caretaker and he attends nursing school at night. However, when his own estranged father tracks him down and threatens to expose a secret, he's compelled to partner with him in a black-market tissue and body parts trade.
Bruckheimer and his Jerry Bruckheimer TV topper Jonathan Littman were on board to executive produce alongside Sobel, Morgan and the company's KristieAnne Reed, who was set as a co-EP. The drama was due to bow in 2016.
Harvest was poised to become Spike's first scripted drama series in nine years. The series pickup came as the cabler had been developing more scripted dramas on the heels of successful miniseries Tut, starring Ben Kingsley. Spike's scripted development slate also includes Bad Medicine, Hummel & Howe, Mr. In Between, Secret America, World War III, When the Levee Breaks, The Crusaders, Deep Web, The Chairman, Red Mars, Emergency Broadcast and War at the Shore, among others.
The Harvest cancellation marks the latest speed bump in the "peak TV" era as broadcasters, cable networks and streaming services all compete for projects and talent, often at the same time.
While multiple outlets pick up projects straight to series in an effort to outbid competitors for hot properties, it's rare that they're canceled before the casting process can begin. NBC scrapped Wizard of Oz-themed drama Emerald City before it was cast following creative differences, but the project was revived shortly afterward with a different writer and now has talent attached. More recently, NBC ordered a Coach revival straight to series but axed the comedy after filming two pilots.
Bruckheimer, meanwhile, has a pair of dramas in the works at TNT as well as Fox's midseason drama Lucifer and CBS' sophomore series CSI: Cyber, all on the scripted side.