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ABC added to its drama pilot orders Thursday, handing out official pickups to a magic drama from Greg Berlanti and the Blindspot team as well as a futuristic war drama from Criminal Minds grads Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie.
Ordered to pilot are The Crossing, from Dworkin and Beattie, and Deception, from Berlanti, showrunner Martin Gero (Blindspot), magician David Kwong and writer Chris Fedak (Chuck, Forever). David Nutter (Game of Thrones) is expected to direct and exec produce Deception, reuniting with Berlanti after helming pilots for The Flash and Arrow.
The drama, produced by Warner Bros. Television, where Berlanti, Gero and Fedak are under overall deals, landed at ABC with a hefty pilot-production commitment in September following a multiple-network bidding war.
Here’s the official logline: When his career is ruined by scandal, superstar magician Cameron Black has only one place to turn to practice his art of deception, illusion and influence — the FBI. He’ll become the world’s first consulting illusionist, helping the government solve crimes that defy explanation and trap criminals and spies by using deception.
Fedak, currently the co-showrunner on The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow, will pen the script and executive produce. Berlanti and head of his studio-based Berlanti Productions banner Sarah Schechter will exec produce. Gero’s Quinn’s House banner produces. Renowned magician Kwong, who is also a puzzle creator as well as writer-producer and consultant on the Now You See Me films and NBC’s Blindspot, will be credited as a co-producer. Kwong is instrumental in creating the puzzles on Blindspot, with Deception set to mark a reunion for him with creator Gero and Berlanti.
Deception is one of multiple scripts prolific producer Berlanti (Arrow, Flash, Blindspot, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow) has in the works this development season, with DC Comics take Black Lightning also expected to get the pilot nod at Fox.
The Crossing, meanwhile, is produced by ABC Studios and will be written and exec produced by Criminal Minds, Revenge and Scorpion duo Dworkin and Beattie, with Jason Reed also attached as an EP.
Here’s the official logline: Refugees from a wartorn country start showing up to seek asylum in an American town. Only the country these people are from is America and the war they are fleeing is 500 years in the future. The local sheriff with a past, a federal agent, and a mother in search of her missing refugee daughter drive this allegory with a surprising conspiracy at the center.
The pickups bring ABC’s drama pilot orders for the season to four. Deception — not to be confused with NBC’s short-lived 2013 drama of the same name — and The Crossing join untitled dramas from Marc Cherry and Shondaland’s Paul William Davies.
ABC, like other broadcast networks, has had a mad scramble post-development season to ensure its offerings reach a larger audience in a post-Trump America. ABC Entertainment chief Channing Dungey recently acknowledged that the rise of Trump and his blue-collar support forced her to question whether her programming was too focused on upper-income brackets.
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