CBS Orders Frank Spotnitz 'Ransom' Drama Straight to Series

The 13-episode series, starring 'Black Sails' actor Luke Roberts, hails from eOne, France's TF1 and Corus Global.
Courtesy of Paradigm; Getty Images
Luke Roberts, left, and Frank Spotnitz

CBS is adding another drama to its slate.

The network has handed out a straight-to-series 13-episode order for Ransom, a drama from Entertainment One, France's TF1 and Canada's Corus Global, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Black Sails' Luke Roberts will star.

Co-created and exec produced by Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files, Man in the High Castle) and David Vainola (Combat Hospital), Ransom is inspired by the professional experiences of crisis negotiator Laurent Combalbert who with his partner, Marwan Mery, are among the top negotiators in the world. Together, they travel around the globe to help multinational corporations and governmental agencies with complex negotiations and conflict resolution.

Here's the show's official description: Ransom follows crisis and hostage negotiator Eric Beaumont (Roberts), whose team is brought in to save lives when no one else can. Eric understands criminals better than they do, and uses his insight into human behavior to resolve the most difficult kidnap and ransom cases. Despite the stakes, Eric refuses to resort to violence, even when confronted by some of the most dangerous criminals in the world. While Eric’s considerable powers of manipulation make him the best at what he does professionally, they often complicate his relationships with family, friends and colleagues. Is Eric being himself, or who he needs to be in order to get what he wants? The difference is often hard to tell. The series begins with Eric taking on Maxine Carlson, a new member of the team eager to prove herself. But a dangerous secret from Maxine's past may pose a threat that even the great Eric Beaumont is unable to resolve.

"As CBS continues to program year round, we are always looking for series that can fit seamlessly within our schedule and connect with our viewers," CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller said. "Ransom brings a compelling new approach to a character-driven crime drama with a sense of urgency and closure in each episode."

The drama comes weeks after Spotnitz exited his role as showrunner on Amazon's Man in the High Castle after the streaming service moved production to the West Coast. He'll exec produce Ransom via his Big Light Productions banner alongside eOne, Big Light Productions and producers Sienna Films and Wildcats Productions. eOne will control worldwide rights to the series.

"The world of crisis negotiation is incredibly compelling, as demonstrated by the fascinating real-life cases Laurent Combalbert has negotiated," Spotnitz said. “Laurent has inspired a brilliant and complex character, and you can’t help but be moved seeing all the lives he’s saved around the world."

Added eOne TV CEO John Morayniss: "We are delighted to partner with CBS, TF1 and Global to bring Ransom to screens around the world,". "We are especially grateful to the Wildcats team, who brought the IP on which the show is inspired, Sienna Films with whom we have a longstanding and successful relationship, and Frank Spotnitz whose talent and vast experience will ensure delivery of a top notch show."

Ransom is a Canada-France treaty co-production. It will be co-produced by eOne, Jennifer Kawaja and Julia Sereny via their Sienna Films banner; and Valerie Pechels and Odile McDonald of Wildcats. Ransom has been co-developed by TF1 and Shaw Media, with the participation of the Centre National du Cinema et de l’Image Animé in France as well as Canada Media Fund, and will be produced with the financial assistance of the Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit.

For his part, Roberts has spent three seasons starring on Starz's Black Sails. His credits include Band of Brothers, Taxi Brooklyn, Reign and 300. He's repped by Paradigm, Silver Lining Entertainment and the U.K.'s United Agents.

Ransom — which landed at CBS following a monthslong process — joins a roster of scripted newly ordered dramas at the network including Bull, MacGyver, Training Day, Pure Genius and Doubt.