'L.A. Confidential': Efforts to Find CBS Pilot a New Home Fail

Lionsgate TV and New Regency's take on the James Ellroy novel was eyed at CBS All Access but a deal could not be reached.
Courtesy of CBS
Brian J. Smith starred in CBS pilot 'L.A. Confidential.'

There will be no eleventh-hour rescue for one of pilot season's most promising dramas.

Efforts to find a new home for L.A. Confidential, originally developed for but passed over by CBS, have failed. The drama, based on the James Ellroy novel and subsequent feature film, had been eyed to land at CBS All Access, the subscription service from co-producers CBS Television Studios. However, following extended talks, a deal ultimately could not be reached.

Sources say Lionsgate TV, who produced the pilot alongside New Regency and CBS Television Studios, may have asked for a higher licensing fee than the SVOD home had expected. Others maintain that finances had little to do with it — given CBS All Access' financial commitment to Star Trek: Discovery and the franchise's other forthcoming series. What's more, CBS All Access already has period drama Strange Angel, which is set in the 1930s.

L.A. Confidential revolved around three homicide detectives, a female reporter and an up-and-coming actress whose paths intersect while the detectives pursue a sadistic serial killer among the secrets and lies of glamorous and gritty 1950s Los Angeles. The drama, starring Brian J. Smith (Sense8) and Walton Goggins and written and exec produced by Jordan Harper (Gotham) and showrunner Anna Fricke, came in well but was considered darker than the traditional CBS fare. CBS All Access was considered a likely new home for the drama as co-producers CBS TV Studios continues to make a splash in streaming. 

CBS picked up five new dramas for the 2018-19 broadcast season: Dick Wolf's FBI, military drama The Code (which is undergoing recastings), Greg Berlanti and Ava DuVernay racial drama The Red Line, light drama God Friended Me (also from Berlanti) and a reboot of Magnum P.I.

Lionsgate TV and CBS TV Studios declined comment on L.A. Confidential.

The news comes days after Charter Communications provided a new home for Bad Boys II spinoff L.A.'s Finest, which was considered the biggest slam dunk this past pilot season but was shockingly passed over at NBC. The Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba starrer from Sony TV landed a 10-episode order at the cable giant. Meanwhile, ABC this week extended the cast options for the stars of comedy pilot Steps, with the Ginnifer Goodwin and Kyle Bornheimer family comedy remaining in contention. ABC drama False Profits, starring Scandal favorite Bellamy Young, also had options on its cast extended along with an order for three backup scripts. Amazon Studios, whose new head Jennifer Salke developed Guess Who Died, is eyeing the Norman Lear comedy after NBC's pass.

Network jumping is becoming increasingly common in the Peak TV landscape where one outlet's pass is another's hit. Netflix has already revived Lucifer after Fox's pass and is eyeing ABC's Designated Survivor. NBC also had one of the season's biggest stories when the network revived Brooklyn Nine-Nine 30 hours after Fox's cancellation.