Bratt, Semel help out A&E's 'Cleaner' crew


A&E continues to line up top-notch talent for its pilots, tapping Benjamin Bratt to star in "The Cleaner" and negotiating with David Semel to direct and executive produce the pilot.

Additionally, the network has ordered a second script for "Cleaner," the first pilot to come out of CBS Paramount Network TV's cable division headed by Bela Bajaria.

The casting of Bratt lifts the contingency on the project, which is based on a real-life extreme interventionist and centers on William (Bratt), a man who finds his calling in helping others.

After hitting rock bottom during the birth of his twins, William strikes up a tentative deal with God. He cleans up, goes to prison, kicks his addictions and forms a team dedicated to helping others get away from their addictions by any means necessary while also reuniting with his wife and kids.

"He just switched from one addiction to another — saving people," said Jonathan Prince, who created "Cleaner" with Robert Munic. "We see him go from the darkest of times to becoming a God-avenging angel."

"Cleaner" marks the first cable pilot for Semel, who has directed the pilots for such network series as NBC's "Heroes," "Life" and "American Dreams."

Semel served as an exec producer on "Dreams," which was created/exec produced by Prince. Prince's longtime friendship with the director played a key role in bringing him aboard "Cleaner," along with the opportunity for Semel to work with Bratt, Prince said.

Munic penned the pilot script and is now writing the second episode of "Cleaner." Munic, Prince and Semel exec produce the pilot, which will be filmed in Los Angeles. Jay Silverman and Warren Boyd are co-exec producing.

Bratt's casting follows the tapping of Patrick Swayze to star in another A&E pilot, "The Beast" (HR 10/15). A&E also is casting two other cast-contingent pilots — "Danny Fricke" and" Under" — with the intention of premiering its first original scripted drama series since 2002 sometime in the summer.

Bratt, who recently starred in the NBC series "E-Ring," also is co-starring in A&E's upcoming science fiction miniseries "The Andromeda Strain" and next appears on the big screen in "Love in the Time of Cholera," directed by Mike Newell. He is repped by Endeavor and Steve Dontanville at D/F Management.

Semel is repped by Endeavor and 3 Arts Entertainment.