Friday, February 1, 2008

CBS inks deal with 'Minds' producer~2007

Mirren to develop projects for studio

CBS Paramount Network TV has inked a three-year, seven-figure overall deal with Simon Mirren, the Blighty-born co-exec producer of the hit Eye drama "Criminal Minds."

It's the first Stateside overall for Mirren, who made the trip across the Pond about four years ago to write for the Eye's "Without a Trace." He had previously worked on a number of major British dramas, including "Spooks" (known to A&E auds as "MI5").

Pact calls for Mirren to continue working with "Minds" showrunner Ed Bernero, who himself recently inked a long-term deal with CBS Par. He will also develop projects for the studio, possibly teaming with Bernero.

Mirren has enjoyed a quick rise through the writing ranks; less than a decade ago, he was installing kitchens in the homes of wealthy Londoners. He managed to sell a screenplay for an indie movie called "GMT"; that led the BBC to call him in to help pump up its long-running medical sudser "Casualty."

After he began working on "Casualty," Mirren ran into the creator of the show. Turns out Mirren had installed what he calls a "posh Swedish kitchen" in the scribe's house years before.

"He looked at me and said, 'Simon, what the fuck are you doing here?' " Mirren recalled. "I told him, 'I'm a writer on the show.' "

After "Casualty," Mirren landed gigs on Blighty dramas "Waking the Dead" and "Spooks." He then got a call from a U.S. agent, who asked him to spend a month in Los Angeles taking meetings with showrunners, studios and networks.

Those meetings didn't pan out, but not long after Mirren returned to the U.K., "Without a Trace" producer Ed Redlich called and recruited him to write for that show.

During his yearlong stint on "Trace," Mirren met up with Bernero, who was working on the same lot on "Third Watch." The two men clicked, and Mirren has been working on Bernero shows ever since.

"I wouldn't still be in this country without Ed," Mirren said. "I did this deal (with CBS Par) primarily so I could keep working with him."

Mirren, who's the nephew of Helen Mirren, said he's attracted to crime/spy/mystery dramas like "Criminal Minds" or "Spooks" because of the emotions such shows explore.

"It's really heightened drama," he said. "Crimes like murder bring out the darker sides of people and the better sides of people. As a writer, it's great to be able to mine the most extreme emotions."

Mirren is repped by Endeavor.