NBC Adds Mark Burnett Guardian Angel Drama, Medical Soap

Roma Downey and Mark Burnett
Austin Hargrave

“I’m known for my politeness,” says Downey, who played the Virgin Mary in the series. “I think if it were up to me, I might still be out there in town, knocking on doors politely, hoping that someone would make The Bible series with us. My husband is less polite than I am, so he came up next to me and kicked those doors down.”

NBC continued to greenlight drama pilots late Friday, picking up two hourlong projects from a pair of real-life couples: a guardian angel entry from Mark Burnett and Roma Downey as well as a medical soap from Private Practice alum Amy Brenneman and Brad Silberling.

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Burnett and Downey's Unveiled hails from Universal Television and is described as a one-hour drama following an ensemble of flawed guardian angels who intervene in the lives of those who find themselves facing crises in an attempt to restore their faith and, often, save their lives.

John Sakmar and Kerry Lenhart (The Glades, Psych) will pen the script and exec produce alongside Burnett and Downey and their Lightworkers Media banner.

Unveiled marks NBC's latest pairing with Burnett and Downey and comes ahead of A.D., their April follow-up to History's record-breaking mini The Bible. The duo also has an adaptation of The Dovekeepers set up at CBS scheduled for a March 31 debut.

Brenneman and Silberling's Heart Matters, meanwhile, also hails from Universal Television and is described as a medical soap inspired by the life of Dr. Kathy Magliato and her 2011 book Heart Matters: A Memoir of a Female Heart Surgeon. It follows the outspoken Alex Panttiere, one of the rare female heart transplant surgeons. Alex brings an innovative eye to treating patients week to week while also balancing the complications of her professional and romantic life.

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Jill Gordon (My So-Called Life, The Wonder Years) will write the script and exec produce alongside Brenneman and Silberling (Jane the Virgin). Co-exec producers include Susan Carlson, Eric Carlson, Kelly Meyer and Magliato.  

Brenneman, who counts medical soap Private Practice among her acting credits, will not have an onscreen role. She is currently a regular on HBO's The Leftovers. (The latter, also based on a book, will return for its second season this year.) She and Silberling most recently worked together when Brenneman guest-starred on The CW's Reign.

The additions bring NBC's drama pilot haul to eight, one shy of last year's haul. (On the comedy side, NBC has seven half-hours vs. a whopping 18 last season.)

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
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