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TNT may be looking for new leadership, but that isn’t stopping the cable network from prepping its new pilot slate.
The Turner-owned cabler has ordered an untitled cocaine drama from executive producers Jerry Bruckheimer, Michael Bay and Michelle Ashford, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Sources say the drama has been in the works for a long time under programming president Michael Wright, who is poised to exit the entertainment group he has been a part of for a decade.
The untitled entry is described as a serialized character drama centering on the captivating, wild and unpredictable world of the Florida drug trade in the 1970s.
Ashford, who created Showtime’s period drama Masters of Sex, will pen the script and exec produce the Warner Horizon Television drama. Bruckheimer (CSI) will exec produce alongside his Warners-based Jerry Bruckheimer Television president Jonathan Littman and exec vp KristieAnne Reed, who is set as a co-EP. Bay will exec produce via his Bay Films banner. Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman, who produced the 2006 documentary Cocaine Cowboys, are also on board as EPs. The doc, directed by Corben, explored the rise of cocaine in Miami in the 1970s and ’80s using interviews with law enforcement officials, journalists, attorneys and former drug smugglers. It grossed $160,000 worldwide.
The drama reunites the cabler with Bay, who also exec produces summer hit The Last Ship. The Eric Dane thriller has already been renewed for a second season after ranking as cable’s top new series this year among the key adults 18-49 demographic. Should the cocaine drama move ahead, it would become Bay’s third show on the air, joining Starz’s pirate drama Black Sails.
As for Bruckheimer, the prolific producer also has CBS’ CSI and its upcoming spinoff, CSI: Cyber, as well as veteran unscripted hit The Amazing Race.
The cocaine drama marks the latest time that Bay and Bruckheimer have worked together. The duo’s shared credits include features Bad Boys, The Rock, Armageddon and Pearl Harbor.
The order comes amid TNT’s search for a new programming president and as Turner Entertainment continues to search for a new chief in the wake of Steve Koonin‘s departure.
The cocaine drama becomes TNT’s second pilot order in a week and follows high-profile DC Comics adaptation Titans. The network also has Sharon Stone starrer Agent X in the works, which is being redeveloped from last season.
Ashford, whose credits also include Boomtown and 21 Jump Street, is repped by CAA; Bay is with WME; and Bruckheimer is with CAA and Bloom Hergott.
TNT’s Ashford-Bay-Bruckheimer drama comes as Showtime is developing its own cocaine drama set in 1980s L.A. called Snowfall from John Singleton about the world’s first superstar drug dealer, and as Starz has been exploring the world of a drug dealer turned nightclub owner in its 50 Cent-produced Power.
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