FX picks up Close's legal 'Damages'

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FX is looking to do some ratings "Damages" in the summer with a new legal series starring Glenn Close.

The cable network has handed out a 13-episode order to the project, previously known as the untitled Kessler/Kessler/Zelman project.

The legal thriller, from FX Prods. and Sony Pictures Television, is set to premiere in the summer, a year after the show's creators/executive producers Todd A. Kessler, Glenn Kessler and Daniel Zelman delivered their first draft to the network.

That is an uncustomarily quick turnaround for FX, which has been looking for years to launch a legal franchise.

"It's a very well-written, well-acted thriller, a legal show that never goes into the court room," FX Networks president and GM John Landgraf said. "It's very unusual relative to any legal shows you've seen."

In "Damages," which will begin production in May in New York, Close will play Patty Hewes, one of America's foremost litigators going after corporate titans. Co-starring on the show -- described by some as the legal world's "The Devil Wears Prada" -- are Rose Byrne as a first-year associate at Hewes' firm, as well as Ted Danson, Tate Donovan and Zeljko Ivanek. The pilot was directed by Allen Coulter.

"This will be the next buzzworthy FX series," said Jamie Erlicht, co-president of programming and production at Sony Pictures TV.

Zack Van Amburg, Sony TV's co-president, programming and production, added, "There is no better combination than the right show at the right network, and we know 'Damages' is both at FX."

Todd Kessler said he, his brother Glenn and Zelman feel "honored" working with Close and "deeply appreciative" for FX and Sony TV's support.

"They encouraged us to take creative risk and nurtured our vision for the show," he said.

"Damages" marks Close's second TV series, following her Emmy-nominated seasonlong stint on FX's "The Shield."

Meanwhile, FX is said to be encouraged by the cumulative ratings for drama "Dirt," which recently finished its first season, and is expected to make a decision whether to pick up the Courteney Cox-starring series for a second season in two to six weeks. With the cable network also bullish on new entry "The Riches," it might end up with six drama series, including "Damages" and veterans "Shield," "Nip/Tuck" and "Rescue Me," an unprecedented feat for a cable network.    
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