Rainn Wilson Drama 'Backstrom' Gets Series Order at Fox

Backstorm Episodic - H 2014
Sergei Bachlakov/CBS

Backstorm Episodic - H 2014

Fox is expanding its relationship with Bones boss Hart Hanson.

The network has picked up Rainn Wilson-starrer Backstrom -- the drama developed by CBS during the 2013-14 pilot season -- to series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Backstrom is based on the books by Swedish criminologist/novelist Leif G.W. Persson and was first developed in July 2012. The hourlong crime drama centers on an overweight, offensive, irascible detective as he tries and fails to change his self-destructive behavior. Fox has ordered 13 episodes, and production will begin early this year. A formal premier date has not yet been announced.

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Hanson, whose Bones is airing its ninth season in its new Friday time slot, penned the pilot and executive produces via his overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television. Persson and Niclas Salomonsson are also on board as EPs. Mark Mylod (Shameless) directed and exec produced the pilot. Wilson will produce.

Backstrom marks Fox's second series order to come from a pilot previously developed for another network during the 2013-14 pilot season. The network recently picked up Mulaney, a comedy starring John Mulaney that was previously developed for NBC. The Backstrom order also comes a day after NBC picked up Mr. Robinson, which, like the Wilson-starrer, was developed last pilot season. 

"Hart Hanson and Rainn Wilson are the perfect combination of creative vision and onscreen talent to bring this one-of-a-kind character and story like Backstrom to Fox,” said Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly. “I’ve been in business with Hart for a long time, and not only does he have a rare gift for infusing darker themes with relatable humor, he’s one of the best showrunners out there today. Together with Rainn -- who absolutely nails this role and makes it a classic FOX character -- I think we’ve got something really special here."

Wilson stars as Detective Everett Backstrom, marking his first small-screen regular role since NBC's The Office ended its run last year. The Fox pickup also marks Wilson's shift to drama after his nine-season run as Dwight Schrute. Wilson was tapped for the lead role after NBC nixed its planned Dwight-centered Office spinoff, The Farm.

"I couldn't be more thrilled to get a chance to dig into Detective Everett Backstrom. For an actor it's rare to get a crack at a role of such intelligence, humor and complexity. He's a delightfully disheveled misanthrope with a twisted, brilliant mind and a heart of barbed wire. Truly the role of a lifetime,” Wilson said. “Hart Hanson is an incredible writer and showrunner and I couldn't be more excited to collaborate with him. Last but not least, Fox is the perfect home for this fun and disturbed piece of entertainment. They are passionate about the show and I'm ecstatic to be working with Kevin Reilly again -- he launched The Office on NBC and fought tooth-and-nail for us to stay on the air, let's not forget -- and to be on the same network as my frenemy, Mindy Kaling.”

Kristoffer Polaha (Life Unexpected), Dennis Haysbert (24) and Page Kennedy co-star.

For Hanson, Backstrom could mark the showrunner's second series on the 2014-15 schedule should Fox renew veteran Bones for its 10th season. Hanson also has an adaptation of Chris Ewan's best-selling book series The Good Thief's Guide in development at ABC with The Secret Circle EP Andrew Miller as well as Noone, a romantic drama with Jason Horwitch (Rubicon) in the works at Fox.

Naturally, all of us who worked on Backstrom thought it was too promising a series to die unseen, and Dana [Walden] and Gary [Newman] were relentless in their support of the project,” Hanson said. “Imagine our delight to find that Kevin Reilly and his team at FOX agreed enough to pick it up and give us a good home. Thanks FOX!” Backstrom becomes the fourth new series Fox has ordered for the 2014-15 TV season as the network continues to program year-round originals in a bid to move beyond the traditional fall/midseason/summer scheduling. Beyond Backstrom, the network has drama Hieroglyph, Seth MacFarlane's animated comedy Bordertown and Mulaney.

E-mail: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
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