Broadcast drama at Sony TV

Makes foray into network fare with several projects

After making a name for itself as a producer of cable dramas with "The Shield," "Rescue Me," "Damages" and "Breaking Bad," Sony Pictures TV is hoping to build a similarly strong drama portfolio on broadcast TV.

The studio has landed sizable commitments for several hourlong projects from seasoned creators: Jack Orman, Kevin Falls and Josh Berman at ABC and Peter Tolan and Ed Redlich at CBS.

They join a put pilot commitment at NBC the studio landed in July for a legal drama from "ER" showrunner David Zabel.

Sony began building a roster of drama writer-producers after the writers strike, when it signed Falls and Berman, and it added Tolan this summer. "That was a big part of our strategy -- to go with proven showrunners and creative forces," Sony TV head of drama Sharon Hall said.

On the broadcast side, Sony is focusing on close-ended dramas, though it also is working on a couple of soaps, including the Falls project, and series adaptations of two movies from the Sony library, "St. Elmo's Fire" and "Heathers."

In developing for broadcast, the studio is taking a page from its cable shows.

"At the center of all dramas are entertaining and vibrant characters," Hall said. For instance, "Rescue Me" co-creator Tolan "took the loudness of the central character on 'Rescue Me' and brought it to broadcast TV, infusing the main character with the same kind of signature point of view."

Tolan's project centers on an eccentric professor (also working as a detective) in the vein of Steve Carell's character from "The 40 Year Old Virgin." Tolan is writing the show and exec producing with producing partner Michael Wimer.

Redlich's "The Remembrer" centers on a female FBI agent who remembers everything. That helps her career but makes for turmoil in her personal life. Redlich is exec producing with his wife, Sony-based Sarah Timberman, and her producing partner Carl Beverly.

Both shows have received script commitments with hefty penalties from CBS.

The untitled Orman drama centers on two long-feuding families, one of which populates the Chicago district attorney's office and the other in the city's most influential private law firm. It has landed a put pilot commitment.

Falls' "Merrimac Circle," which also has received a put pilot commitment from ABC, is a suburban mystery set outside D.C., where most families work for the U.S. intelligence agencies. They are rattled when an enigmatic man moves into the neighborhood.

Berman's drama, which has gotten a script commitment with penalty, centers on two female homicide detectives who are at crossroads in their personal lives.

Sony also continues to be focused on its cable dramas. Its freshmen "Drop Dead Diva," also created by Berman, and "Hawthorne" were recently renewed; "Lawman" was just picked up to series at FX.

Tolan, Orman, Berman and Redlich are repped by CAA. Falls is with WME.
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