'Burn Notice' creator sets Fox drama


Matt Nix, creator/executive producer of USA Network's hit series "Burn Notice," is heating up broadcast TV.

Fox has picked up "Jack and Dan," a 13-episode hourlong series from Nix and "Notice" producer Fox TV Studios. It centers on Jack, an ambitious, by-the-book cop who is partnered with Dan, a drunken, lecherous, wild-card cop who hangs onto his job only because of a heroic act years before.

"Jack" will be done under FtvS' straight-to-series international co-production model, with filming slated to begin early next year.

Like "Burn," the new show will be a procedural featuring lead characters with a comedic bent.

But "it's not a comedic whodunit," Nix said. "It's an action comedy cop show that follows both the cops and the criminals and the ways they come together. The fun is seeing how they clash, and that doesn't happen in the conventional procedural ways."

Nix originally wrote "Jack" as a movie almost a decade ago. Back then, he felt the premise would work better as a series, but being a feature writer, a screenplay was the only form he knew.

Nix's manager Mikkel Bondesen, who originally pitched "Burn" to FtvS, also gave the studio Nix's "Jack" feature script a couple of years ago. The project stayed dormant until FtvS brass got indications from Nix that he was ready to tackle a second series.

Nix reworked the script for TV and the studio considered producing the project under its international co-production model.

FtvS has experimented with the model during the past year, filming three 13-episode series -- "Persons Unknown," "Defying Gravity" and "Mental" -- with international partners and selling them in the U.S. to NBC, ABC and Fox, respectively.

After the first batch, the studio was looking to tweak the template.

"We felt it would be better for us to get a U.S. network earlier so they can feel more emotionally invested and feel that it was really their show," FtvS executive vp David Madden said.

Sister network Fox already had been interested in FtvS' model and quickly responded to Nix's script.

"It was a combination of the creative, which was really strong, and the model of production, which was really appealing," Fox executive vp Matt Cherniss. "The script had really inspired and surprising characters, a clean tone, interesting story devices and was able to do a procedural in a way that was fresh and different."

As with FtvS' previous straight-to-series projects, "Jack" is being sold for a lower license fee, with the studio expected to make up the difference in the international marketplace.

FtvS has been sending the script to potential international broadcasting partners; the company's president, Emiliano Calemzuk, and Madden are expected to begin meeting with them shortly.

Nix already is staffing the show, with the casting process in the early stages.

Unlike FtvS' previous internationally produced series, filming on "Jack" is expected to be done in the U.S., in part to make it easier for Nix to run both series. The schedules on both shows will be staggered to accommodate Nix, for whom "Burn" continues to be a priority.

"I am extremely conscious of the fact that we have a very good thing in 'Burn Notice,' " he said. "It's my baby; I love it, and I still think about it all the time."

FtvS-based Nix and Bondesen, who will executive produce "Jack," are repped by WME.
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