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."