Thursday, January 31, 2008

Andrew Wilder ~1997

Atlas snags date pitch by Ted Johnson

Andrew Wilder, a 22-year-old film school student at USC, has sold a pitch about a group of recent college graduates and the ups and downs of dating to Atlas Entertainment, which is now based at Warner Bros.

The pitch, tentatively titled "Dating Satan," was sold in the low six figures to Atlas, the Charles Roven/Dawn Steel company that came into the Warner Bros. fold with the merger of Time Warner and Turner Broadcasting Co.

The project follows four characters and their ordeals.

Wilder is taking a semester off to write the script. Atlas VP of production Richard Suckle brought the script to Atlas.

Last year, Wilder won USC's Jack Nicholson Award for his script "East Side Story," a romantic drama set in New York. He was one of the youngest winners of the award. The William Morris Agency is currently packaging that screenplay in its indie division.

"After reading the script 'East Side Story,' and convincing me he had more than his share of horrible dates, I knew he was the right guy to write this movie," Suckle said.

Wilder is repped by Ramses Ishak, Rob Carlson and Alan Gasmer at William Morris and attorney Robert Offer.

Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie ~July 2002 Script Sale

Dan Dworkin and Jay Beattie ~July 2002 Script Sales
'The Lost'
Genre: Psychological thriller
Writer: Jay Beattie, Dan Dworkin
Buyer: Artisan Ent.
Producer: David Goyer
Logline: A psychiatrist is asked to evaluate a woman who's been diagnosed with multiple personalities; he becomes obsessed with her case once his analysis suggests the multiple "personalities" are actually murder victims.
Side Note: David S. Goyer to produce. The screenwriters managers', Darby Parker, Chris Bender and J.C. Spink will exec produce.

"Lights, camera, shoot 'em up" by David Jenkinson~ Simon Mirren 2006

Simon Mirren and Kris Campbell pictured above (2007)

Independent, The (London), Feb 20, 2006 by David Jenkinson

Police helicopters fly low above Sunset Boulevard' looking down on them from the patio of his house, high in the Hollywood Hills, one of Britain's most successful screen-writing exports is considering just how far he's come. Twelve years ago Simon Mirren was a south London builder whose closest brush with the television business was plastering the roof of Michael Grade's office when the man ran Channel 4. Today he's one of the few British writers to have made it in Hollywood, and, as co-executive producer on smash hit drama Criminal Minds, has achieved something many US writers, never mind Europeans, have yet to match.

Mirren clearly sees the funny side. His neighbours are Johnny Depp and Chateau Marmont, the hotel that played host to countless Hollywood romances and where John Belushi overdosed in bungalow three.

But the view wasn't always this good. When Mirren's first film, G:MT Greenwich Mean Time, came out in the UK, the critics weren't kind. The fact that Mirren's auntie is a certain Dame Helen had not escaped their notice. "A lot of critics in the UK wanted to believe that Helen Mirren was making my career. The British press need to attribute success to someone else," he says. "One guy even said Mel Gibson's company only made the film because she was my aunt. I realised just how naive and twisted these people were."

The disappointment for Mirren was that his own coming-of-age story and cinematic debut didn't get the treatment it deserved. "The thing with G:MT Greenwich Mean Time was that it was a true story, and a story that stood on its own two feet. That wasn't serviced the way I would have liked it to be serviced, and it hurt."

But the bad press also inspired him. "In a way I can only thank the people who were negative about me. All the people that slagged me off. They are the ones about whom I thought, 'you know what, fuck you'."

He arrived Los Angeles for a series of pitch meetings under the stewardship of agent Scott Seidel at Endeavor, one of the main talent-shops in town. "I had 45 meetings in a week, with three or four people in each one," says Mirren. "Honestly, to this day I don't know who I met. And I learned that pitching is everything here. What Hollywood loves is confident, enthusiastic people who want to be successful."

But let's step back a bit. How did he move from plasterer to writer to Hollywood? "G:MT Greenwich Mean Time attracted interest from (the late producer) Alexei de Key ser at the BBC who asked me to write an episode of Casualty called "She Loves the Rain". Norman Wisdom came out of retirement to star in it," he says.

Mirren worked with producers de Keyser and Mal Young at the BBC for the next couple of years, moving on to dramas including Waking the Dead. "If I brought anything to these shows it was all my experiences," he says. "I have never felt like a writer. I have always felt like a storyteller. Throughout my life I have met really interesting people, from every walk of life. That has served me well to this day."

Mirren did two seasons on Waking the Dead and was developing a project called Deep Blue, using many of the contacts he had in the National Crime Squad. "It was with Kudos, which also had a pilot that had been kicking around for a few years called Spooks. I read it and I thought it was fabulous, but it didn't really describe the world that I had seen or heard about," says Mirren. So Kudos brought him in to work alongside creator David Woltenscroft. "I had three or four story ideas with me. The deep fat fryer scene came out of some of the things I'd heard from the people I knew in the real National Crime Squad."

As an established writer on what was becoming Britain's best drama in years, Mirren began to cast his eye further afield. "I was talking to a writer called Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Supremacy) who said he thought the sort of ideas I was having would lend themselves to American television. There are a lot of English directors working in the US (Danny Cannon, who was part of the creation team for CSI, and Rob Bailey who is now a producer on CSI: NY) but no writers. I don't know what it is. Perhaps they think we can't write for them, or that we don't understand them," says Mirren.

He decided that if he was going to have any success landing a job in the US he would have to spend a week on the ground pitching. Which, in January 2003, is exactly what he did. "If you want to drive a fast car you have to drive Formula One - for me if I wanted to do television and learn more I had to come to America."

After that chaotic week, back in London, Mirren received a call from Ed Redlich and Hank Steinberg from Jerry Bruckheimer's Without a Trace. "It was a conference call. I was at my house trying to figure out my next job. They said they had this show, Without a Trace, which sounded like Waking the Dead. Literally as I was speaking to them 22 tapes landed on my doorstep, just as they said 'you'll have the show any minute now'. Hollywood!"

Mirren was on a plane the next day and walked into a script meeting straight from the airport. He recalls: "I was jetlagged, had a cold, feeling really rough, and I went directly to the office. I'd never met these people in my life. I don't know what they thought of me. A south London builder walks into a Hollywood script meeting. That sort of thing just doesn't happen."

But Mirren's charm must have worked. Since that first day on Without a Trace he has moved up in the business and learned the rules as he's gone on. "Basically, in network television you write to an advert. You construct your drama around the ad breaks. And you have to figure which is the best way to bring the audience back," he says.

"Producing television in LA is all about the writers' room. It is all about the politics of those relationships, which is totally different to the UK - totally and utterly. In England you work a lot more on your own as a writer. You don't really get to see the production at all. You hand in your script and then you're on to the next one.

"What happens here is you start the season on 1 June. You walk into a room and there are between six and eight writers. Everybody sits there and you start talking about stories and figure out roughly what happens. You basically sort out the first six to eight episodes. Then you cast it, you produce it, you control all of it. There isn't anyone else involved. There is no pointing fingers at anyone else. It's all down to the team."

The US model means that when making Criminal Minds Mirren can find himself in all sorts of situations. "One day I could be working on a script and the next filming on location in the desert. I love being involved with the crew and shooting action sequences," he says.

But once the production locomotive leaves the station there's no stopping it. "By the time we start air ing a season in the fall we are probably into episode five or six. We start writing those episodes in June and the actors join in July. On average we have five days to write the episode, eight days of prep, shoot in eight days and that episode can be aired two weeks later. Pretty much four weeks all in."

So what for the future? "Who knows," he says. "The only way I can survive is to dive into the frying pan and see what happens. I love the uncertainty of it all. What I love about working in network television here is I get to control what I write. And if it all falls apart, I'd always wanted to work with people who'd written on Hill Street Blues. And I got to do that."


Executive Producer Simon Mirren Takes Us Behind-the-Scenes on Criminal Minds~2007

Pictured above are Simon Mirren, Debra J. Fisher and Edward Allen Bernero.

Executive Producer Simon Mirren Takes Us Behind-the-Scenes on Criminal Minds by Jacki Garfinkel.

"I don't think we wake up thinking about why we're waking up."

Simon Mirren, executive producer and writer of Criminal Minds, believes that's one of the reasons people enjoy Criminal Minds. "It's about us. It's about what we do," he said.

Mirren has written some of the best Criminal Minds episodes to date. Most notably he has scribed The Fox (a serial killer takes families hostages and lives with them as the father figure), Riding the Lightning (when Gideon realizes the woman in a serial killer couple is innocent, yet she won't admit it), and No Way Out (Gideon versus a serial killer in a diner - will Gideon save a cop and let the killer go?).

In No Way Out, the episode started at the end. "What I wanted to do was break the structure," Mirren explained.

Mirren said they try to break the mold of the show every week, "So you don't know what you're going to get, but you know you're going to get Criminal Minds." He added that they want to "avoid the procedural element."

The episodes of Criminal Minds "are not the same thing each week," Mirren clarified. "They're going on a different adventure, which is incredibly important for the success of shows these days."

The people going on the adventures? The illustrious BAU Team made up of Jason Gideon (Mandy Patinkin), Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner (Thomas Gibson), Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), Derek Morgan (Shemar Moore), Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster), Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness), and Jennifer "JJ" Jareau (A.J. Cook). "We're character writers. That's what we really, really love to write about. There's nothing more interesting for us than writing about characters," Mirren asserted.

Thomas Gibson, Paget Brewster and Matthew Gray Gubler with guest stars Amy Madigan, Melissa Leo, James Horan and JK Palmer in No Way Out
Photo Credit: Monty Brinton/CBS

While Criminal Minds is not specifically focused on the characters, without the pivotal cast, the show wouldn't work. The cases are always intriguing, but it's the cast that gives viewers an emotional tie to the show. "I think we've set ourselves up and we've shown the audiences that you don't have to have a procedural beat story every week, you can have these characters. We can start exploring that, as long as we don't explore it in a way that's not our show."

By that, Mirren means that he doesn't want the show to get so character-centric that it doesn't feel like Criminal Minds. The characters are necessary, but making them the spotlight of each episode is not the purpose, and it would feel forced if the show delved into their specific stories each week.

Knowing that, viewers will most likely still wonder if we'll ever get to know more about the beloved Penelope Garcia. "A back-story on Garcia? She's really knocked it out of the park," Mirren said. "She's so great in the sense of where she sits. She's the solace. The person who keeps you sane. Whenever I come back to see Garcia, I think, 'Thank God, everything's all right again.'"

As much as Mirren and viewers alike crave the Garcia levity in the show, until her story melds perfectly with an episode, we won't be seeing it. "If you're exploring that character's background and it fits in the story and you know why it's being told, and it has an effect on the main story? Then absolutely," Mirren resolved.

And that's why the writers don't have every aspect of the characters' lives outlined. Sure, they have parts of their stories determined, but Mirren said, "I like to be surprised. I don't like to get married to the idea that Hotch went to this school and he slept with this girl named Ann..."

"I want to explore it, but not explore it because we're running out of stories," Mirren said, elaborating that learning about the characters "comes from something organic. It's got to fit within the story."

As touched on earlier, it's these human stories that are so compelling to watch. Criminal Minds focuses on the "psychology of the why," as Mirren put it. Why do you wake up? Why do you drive a red car? "So many things you're doing for a reason," Mirren said, and that's what Criminal Minds investigates. Mirren compared it to snowflakes - from afar they all look the same, but when you look at one close up, every single one is completely different.

The scary part? "Almost everything we've written about has happened in some variation," Mirren said. "What people do to people in their darkest hour is unbelievable. The things we've tapped into in show are the nice version of what I've seen in crime scene photos."

The season two finale of Criminal Minds will be No Way Out (2), meaning we'll be seeing the aftermath of the first brilliantly written No Way Out episode. According to Mirren, viewers will be left with some sort of a cliffhanger, leading Criminal Minds into its third season.

As for the next season, Mirren said, "I think season three will be more of season two... what it will be definitely is braver than anything else on TV."

Edward Allen Bernero "Third Watch" Interview 2004

Edward Allen Bernero "Third Watch" Interview 2004

"I love all my characters - even firemen. And cops hate firemen!" - Ed Bernero

On a non-descript street in Brooklyn, wedged in between a razor-wired lot and what looked like an industrial warehouse, you'll find the 55th Precinct, a familiar looking firehouse and the hub of Third Watch activity. On this day, Executive Producer/Co-Creator Ed Bernero was at the center of the hub. Ed, a boyish looking man in a personalized "BERNERO" jersey, sat down with to discuss the show, this season's big changes and Chicago versus New York.

How did the idea for Third Watch come about?
I worked on a show called "Trinity" with John Wells, who created "ER". I always wanted to do a paramedic show and John wanted to do a cop show. When "Trinity" was cancelled, John asked me if I wanted to do a show and we sort of put our two ideas together. It started as a cop/paramedic show and then we added firemen to it.

How did your experiences as a cop affect your influence on Third Watch?
I was a cop for 10 years in Chicago, then I moved to Los Angeles to work on a show called "Brooklyn South." A little known fact is that cops hate firemen. Firemen come in, they save the day and then they leave cops to clean it up. Firemen sleep 14 to 15 hours of their 24-hour shift. Firemen cook another 4 hours out of that shift. Most days they work, they don't have a fire to go to so they wash the truck, watch DVDs, cook and go to bed. They also work 1 day for every 3 days because they work a 24-hour shift! It's like the world's greatest part time job.

And, they're chick magnets!
(Laughs) Yeah, I'm truly mystified by that. AND they hate cops.

Maybe they've heard you talking about them.
[When I was a cop], we used to cruise by the firehouse in my district in the middle of the night and blast the siren to wake the firemen up.

And yet you added firemen to Third Watch.
The trick is that every one of these characters is me in some way, shape or form. Although the actors all come up to me and say (whispers), "I know I'm really you." Especially the cop characters. They are all actually me at different parts of my career.

Cop stories are in some way more compelling so people remember them and forget the fire stories. Every year we get letters to save the FDNY in Third Watch and I'm like "Where'd it go?" I would get sad if we ever got rid of those stories.

Do you have FDNY consultants on set?
We have a doctor, a paramedic, a cop and a recently retired fire chief. Our consultants read every script and write notes. We rely very heavily on them because reality is very important to us. If it's not real, we don't do it. Whenever we do a big cop arrest or something like that, our cop is there [on set]. If it's a fire, the fire consultant is there.

How is Chicago different from New York, where Third Watch is set?
It's a very different city. The interesting thing about Third Watch is that we're actually portraying Chicago in New York. Just the term "third watch." There is no such thing in New York. The shifts are called watches in Chicago. The third watch is the 3pm to 11pm shift.

They do it here in New York now because of the show. The paramedics were scratching off "shift" next to third shift and writing "watch."

Has there been any flack from New Yorkers because of the discrepancies?
I get flack sometimes for [using the term] "jag-off." A lot of our characters say "jag-off", which is a stone Chicago term. In fact, Michael Beach ("Doc") would never say it because he's from New York. He said, "We don't say that in New York."

Speaking of "Doc", has it been hard to get rid of some of your core characters? Was it a mutual decision for them to leave the show?
Most of the time it was mutual. Actually, with Michael it was more him than us. I miss Michael, but he got bored with playing the good guy. The network was very protective of his character and felt he was the moral center of the show.

But it's also fun to have new people come in. As much as I love [the old characters], I think by the 6th or 7th episode of this season, these new characters will be very exciting.

So who would you say is the new moral center of the show?
We actually, very purposefully, don't have a moral center right now. I think that once that label was put on Michael, his character became inherently less interesting. We have characters who are flawed. We have a show that is much more of what we want the show to be - about ordinary people, who do extraordinary things. Sometimes they make mistakes. Sometimes they do things wrong. But most of the time, they are trying to do the right thing.

Like Yokas in this season's premiere avenging what she thought was Bosco's murder?
Yokas takes the law into her own hands. She has to deal with that the rest of the year. That's a character who in her soul is good. When she did something like [shoot the mob boss] you have to show what that does to her - someone who is basically a good person.

And since Cruz covered for her, it makes them unlikely allies.
Yes. I think that was a real surprise to everybody. Cruz and Yokas are now very reluctant co-conspirators. It's the last thing you would expect - them on the same side.

What else can we expect from this season?
You can expect to find out what happened when Ty's father was killed. There's a big surprise there, and [another current character] is involved. We have some new characters/actors this year including Josh Stewart as a firefighter and Cara Buono as a paramedic. One day people are going to say, "Hey, did you know Josh Stewart started on Third Watch?" It's fun to have new energy around. Some of us, we forget that this is kind of a cool thing [that we do].

How involved are you with every script, every episode?
Every script at some point goes through my computer. We break stories and beats together and then each writer is assigned to go write an outline. Then we tear that to pieces (smiles) and start over again!

Each script goes through three or four revisions until we're all happy with it. There's a point after the first draft comes out that we have a cast read-through. We have a pretty amazing cast, so they have an opportunity to call the writers directly with their thoughts and notes.

That's amazing that the actors have that kind of access and input.
When you're writing something involving 9 or 10 characters, it's great to get the perspective of someone who only thinks of one character. All we really care about is that the episodes be as good as they can.

Don't you have to stick to a plan as far as character arcs?
We kinda know where we want the characters to be at the end of the season. We start every year by putting up dozens and dozens of story ideas, newspaper clippings, etcetera. Then we sort of pick and choose stories based on where we want characters to go over the season.

Which characters have changed the most since Third Watch's debut?
I think they all have. I'm amazed at how much they've all evolved. The show is different than the first season. We were "ER on the street." We just ran from job to job and nobody really knew who anybody was. Now, it's a much more character-driven show. The stunts and events are secondary. They're huge, movie-style stunts, but they don't really drive the episodes, the personal stories do.
Did September 11th change any aspect of the show?
No. Actually, I felt that the rest of the country caught up to what we already knew: These people are heroes. That's why we did the show in the first place. It was no surprise to us that [the firemen and cops] risked their lives and lost their lives saving people on September 11th. That's who these people are.

Does anything ever happen that forces changes in the storylines or the season arcs?
Yes, that happened to us this year. We had a very prominent member of the cast have a baby - which is the reason we are not ahead [in episodes] this year. We had to go back and re-break the entire season because we lost a central character for 6 episodes.

It happens every year. Something always happens. The best time is June and July, because it's just the writers and everything is perfect and anything is possible.

You mentioned you go online to gauge fan reaction. What types of sites do you visit?
I go online all the time. I'm always checking reactions. You listen to [fan input] to a certain point, but we work pretty far ahead. By the time people see episode 3, we're usually working on episode 7. [Having said that], fan reaction to what we do is very important. I log on after every episode airs on the east coast. Mostly I go to AOL's TV section. There's also, which a group of fans started. (Great job guys! B) ) There are websites that have been up since the show started and people don't get paid to do it! I just check as many sites as possible.

How would you like to see the show evolve as it continues?
The show is really getting to where I've always wanted it to be. It's a suspenseful show. It's a show about characters. It's a show about real people. It's a family drama - which is what I think all good cop dramas are.

I just hope we get a chance to keep doing the show forever! We have a cast and crew that are amazing.

Patinkin Quits Series Without Saying Why By ~ Ed Bernero 2007

LOS ANGELES, July 18, 2007 by Allison Hope Weiner — When Mandy Patinkin, a star of CBS’s hit series “Criminal Minds,” failed to show up for work in early July for a script read-through, he gave no explanation for his absence, said Edward Bernero, the show’s executive producer.

A week later the cast and crew of the show still had not heard anything from Mr. Patinkin, Mr. Bernero said.

“This is kind of unprecedented,” Mr. Bernero said in an interview. “He just quit and never talked to anyone again. It’s like the story about the father who goes out for a carton of milk and then just never comes home.”

On Monday ABC Studios and CBS Paramount Network Television, which together produce the show, issued a joint statement announcing Mr. Patinkin’s departure from the show after two years and taking the rare step of explaining that his exit was not related contract renegotiations or salary issues. While the studios’ statement offered no reason for his departure, Mr. Patinkin’s own statement, issued along with that from the studios, explained that his departure had been due to “creative differences.”

The spectacle of a studio letting a top star like Mr. Patinkin out of his contract and then wishing him well in his future endeavors left many in the television industry stunned. It also is rare for the executive producer of a popular show to depart from Hollywood protocol and publicly voice his displeasure with his show’s star and the studio that pays the producer’s salary. Mr. Bernero said he was displeased with how the studios had handled Mr. Patinkin’s departure.

“We’d like to know what these creative differences are and who he has them with,” Mr. Bernero said. “I’m an ex-cop from Chicago, and when we don’t show up for work, we have to give a reason. I don’t get the idea out here that someone can walk away from their job and then everyone bends over backward to make it look like it’s our fault. Everyone was worried last week about protecting the show, and then they released a statement that protects everyone but the show. Why can’t we just tell the truth? We expected him to show up for work, and he didn’t.”

Both ABC Studios and CBS Paramount had no comment beyond the released statement. At an appearance today before the Television Critics Association in Beverly Hills, Nina Tassler, the president of CBS Entertainment, declined to elaborate beyond the studios’ statement, saying with a wink that in Hollywood “I think creative differences is a euphemism for personal issues.” She added that she hoped in the near future Mr. Patinkin would answer questions about his departure. Mr. Patinkin and his representatives declined to comment.

The studios’ willingness to let Mr. Patinkin out of his standard six-year contract is at odds with recent history. When “CSI” cast members Jorja Fox and George Eads failed to show up for work during a salary dispute in 2004, CBS fired them from the hit show. (Both were reinstated after issuing public apologies and agreeing to return at their previous salaries.)

“The studios do seem more willing these days to play hardball with actors who want out of their contracts,” said Alan Grodin, a lawyer who represents the producers Doug Liman and David Bartis, whose credits include “The O.C.,” but does not represent Mr. Patinkin. “If you look at all of the series that have been on the air, you very rarely see somebody leave a hit show overnight,” he said.

During a publicity appearance at the Monte Carlo Television Festival last month Mr. Patinkin appeared to be happy with his role as Agent Jason Gideon, Mr. Bernero said. An hour before the cast was to gather to read the first script of the season, Mr. Patinkin called a crew member to say that he would be on the set soon, according to a staff member who asked not to be indentified because of the sensitivity of the situation. Mr. Patinkin did not respond to numerous e-mail messages or telephone calls, said another staff member who also asked not to be indentified.

“There was just no indication of this,” said Thomas Gibson, who plays Agent Aaron Hotchner on the show. “I talked to him two weeks before he left the show, and he talked about coming back.”

Mr. Gibson also said he did not understand Mr. Patinkin’s stated reason for leaving the show. “It’s odd for him to say creative differences when this show is one of the most responsive and collaborative environments in which I’ve ever worked,” he said.

On a fan Web site dedicated to the show,, several postings blamed the show’s producers for Mr. Patinkin’s departure. Mr. Bernero, without consulting the studios and days before the statement about Mr. Patinkin’s departure was released, posted a response on the Web site criticizing Mr. Patinkin’s behavior and maintaining that the show had gone to great lengths to accommodate the actor.

“Fans are searching for a reason to forgive him,” Mr. Bernero said. “We have this incessant need in this country to forgive celebrities when they do something bad. I just don’t want the fans to reject the show because they think we rejected him. We didn’t. The fact is that 16 million people watch this show, and he walked away from all of them and from us without explanation and apparently he still doesn’t feel they deserve one.”

This isn’t the first time that Mr. Patinkin has left a series during its run. He left the show “Chicago Hope” in 1995, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.

Mr. Bernero said he was concerned that Mr. Patinkin’s departure will hurt ratings for the series. "This show is kind of built around Jason Gideon," he said. "Other characters in the show are important, but a lot of people watch the show for him. He has a strong fan base. I’m afraid they won’t watch now that he’s gone."

Mr. Patinkin is scheduled to return for one episode to explain the departure of his character. “It’ll be a difficult day for everyone here,” Mr. Bernero said. “Frankly, I don’t know why we’d think he’d show up for that day.”

Criminal Minds Writers Project:

Criminal Minds: All the writers for Criminal Minds have imdb pages. On the bottom of an imdb page there is a message board. I recently looked at the pages for the Criminal Minds writers and they are not as active as the pages for writers of other TV shows. Since we have entered Criminal Minds rerun hell this would be a great time to correct the situation. Here are the imdb links for our writers. We need to start a Criminal Minds thread for each writer so that when newbies look at their pages they can get a sense of the wonderful work these writers have done and will hopefully soon continue to do on Criminal Minds. So pick a writer and start a thread or if someone beats you to it then add some postive comments about the episodes the writer has written. Dan Dworkin Jay Beattie Andi Bushell Simon Mirren Debra J. Fisher Erica Messer Andrew Wilder Chris Mundy Edward Allen Bernero Oahn Ly

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Andi Bushell picketing Warner Bros Studio on Jan.14, 2007

Gary Glassberg, Kira Arne & Andi Bushell picketing Warner Bros Studio on Jan.14,2007.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Fox TV, 'Watch' commander ink. Bernero cops deal at network. ~2004

Bernero cops deal at network by Michael Schneider, 2004

"Third Watch" creator Ed Bernero has sealed a seven-figure, two-script deal at 20th Century Fox TV, which is hungry to get into the procedural drama business.
Bernero and 20th have already set up one project at Fox and are close to landing the second at CBS. A third project was sold to NBC but isn't expected to be developed.

It will be a busy season for Bernero, who's also maintaining his role as exec producer and showrunner on "Third Watch," which enters its sixth season on NBC this fall. Bernero will depart the show after the upcoming season.

Bernero's Fox project, which was sold with a hefty penalty attached (around $500,000), is an hourlong crime drama about mismatched partners, one a vice cop, the other a narcotics officer. Show would be based on real police work but adopt a lighthearted approach a la "Bad Boys" or "Lethal Weapon."

"My biggest influence would be 'Starsky and Hutch,' " Bernero said. "It was a real copshow. (Too many shows) get ridiculous when it comes to police work. This show will be rooted in reality."

The script geared toward the Eye is a harder procedural-based drama set in Chicago, where Bernero spent more than 10 years as a cop.

The CBS project will be set in one of Chicago's five "area headquarters" -- law enforcement hubs where police, courts and jails are all housed under one roof. Concept would take a multifranchise approach, with storylines focused both on cops and lawyers.

"My joke is if I could find a way to put an ER in one of these headquarters, everything in primetime TV would be in one building," Bernero said.

Twentieth Century Fox TV drama chief Jennifer Nicholson Salke said the studio was itching to tap the procedural prowess of scribes like Bernero.

"Looking at our development slate last season, we realized we had fallen short in developing procedural shows," she said. "There was a small but coveted list of people we were interested in working with, and we made a real aggressive push to get into business with serious talent like Ed."

Nicholson Salke said the studio had been keeping an eye on Bernero's career thanks to the ongoing success of "Third Watch" (which comes from Warner Bros. TV and John Wells Prods.).

After retiring from police work, Bernero tried his hand at writing, starting with Steven Bochco's "NYPD Blue." He also wrote for "Brooklyn South" and Wells' "Trinity" before moving on to create "Third Watch."

"To know cops and be able to make a good procedural show is a very marketable skill in this town," Bernero said. "Having been one, being a caretaker of cops is really important to me."