NBC welcomes cops, spies, bionic woman


The pilot pickup season began in earnest Tuesday, with NBC greenlighting three one-hour pilots, a cop show from "Law & Order" veteran Michael Chernuchin and "Rescue Me" creators Denis Leary and Peter Tolan, a spy dramedy from "The O.C." creator Josh Schwartz and a new take on "The Bionic Woman."

"Fort Pit," from Sony Pictures TV and Leary's Apostle, is a drama with comedic elements set at one of the worst NYPD police precincts in Brooklyn with rampant crime where bad cops are sent to live out their careers and rookie cops with no connections are stationed.

"It's a dysfunctional and disfranchised group of people, and out of that comes great comedy," said Jamie Erlicht, Sony TV production and programming co-president.

The project is based on the real-life experiences of former NYPD cop Robert Cea, whose rights SPT acquired several years ago. Earlier this season, the studio commissioned a spec based on Cea's stories through its blind script deal with Chernuchin. Tolan later took a pass at Chernuchin's script and the internally developed project was taken to NBC.

"We had a project that we loved and believed in for years, and we found the right partner for it," said Sony TV production and programming co-president Zack Van Amburg.

Tolan is set to direct the pilot, which will be filmed in New York, as well as executive produce with Chernuchin, Leary and Apostle's Jim Serpico. Cea and Lou DiGiamo are producing.

For Leary and Tolan, "Pit" marks a return to the cop genre following their critically praised ABC comedy "The Job," which also was set in New York. The duo's FX drama "Rescue Me" follows a group of New York firefighters.

"Chuck," written by Schwartz and Chris Fedak, is described as a high-concept action dramedy about spies and twentysomethings in the vein of "Grosse Pointe Blank."

Warner Bros. TV is producing the pilot with Schwartz executive producing and Fedak co-executive producing.

Schwartz, whose "O.C." is in its fourth season, has been busy this development season. In addition to "Chuck," which originally was picked by the network with a put pilot commitment, he wrote and is executive producing "The Gossip Girl," which is expected to be picked up to pilot by the CW.

"Bionic," which has received a cast-contingent order, is a reconceptualization of the 1970s series about a woman whose body is mechanically enhanced to save her life.

Laeta Kalogridis and David Eick are the writers/executive producers for NBC Universal TV Studio.