A&E tells tale of two pilots

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A&E Network has handed out cast-contingent pilot orders to two scripted series projects tentatively titled "The Beast" and "The Cleaner."

The pickups follow on the heels of the recently announced cast-contingent pilot order for "Danny Fricke" (HR 7/27).

"Beast," from Sony Pictures Television, is executive produced by Allan Loeb and Steven Pearl for Scarlet Fire Films ("New Amsterdam") and Cory Concoff ("Beltway") for Fuel Filmworks. The project centers on an unorthodox but effective FBI veteran who trains a new partner in his hard-edged, psychologically clever style while being pursued by a secret Internal Affairs team.

The script was written by William Rotko ("Breach," "Beltway") and Vincent Angell ("Stand by Love"), who also will serve as co-executive producers.

"Cleaner," from CBS Paramount Network Television, is written and executive produced by Robert Munic ("For Life") and Jonathan Prince ("Cane").

The project, based on a real-life extreme interventionist, centers on William, a man who feels that helping others is his calling. After hitting rock bottom during the birth of his twins, William strikes up a tentative deal with God, kicks his addictions and dedicates his life to helping others do the same. Now, along with his unconventional team, he helps people get away from their addictions by any means necessary.

Jay Silverman and Warren Boyd will serve as co-executive producers on "Cleaner."

"With these two projects as well as 'Danny Fricke,' we're in a very good place right now," said Tana Nugent Jamieson, senior vp drama programming at A&E, who gave praise to her network colleague Scott Vila, vp original drama programming. "Both projects have very strong lead characters with unique sort of twist to the show itself."

She said the two projects would complement A&E's other programming, including such acquired series as "The Sopranos" and "CSI: Miami." She added that the fact that "Cleaner" would "fit so nicely with (the network's unscripted series) 'Intervention' is a plus" but that the pilot was picked up on its own merits.

Nugent Jamieson said the intention is to premiere one new scripted series in early summer 2008 -- marking the network's first original drama series since 2002 -- and possibly a second series at some point after that. She added that she's looking at picking up one more pilot beyond the three already ordered.

"Fricke," from SPT, is from writer/executive producer Cynthia Cidre and executive producers Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly of 25C Prods. It centers on a tough female detective who is sleeping with her boss, gets a big promotion and on her first case investigates a high-profile murder while trying to deal with the sexist and jealous team of old-school detectives who work for her.

As for the casting of the three projects, Nugent Jamieson said she's looking for "strong actors who are marketable at the same time."
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