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With pilot season over and up-fronts just a few weeks away, the USA Network has ordered four hour-long scripted pilots, including TREADSTONE, an action-drama set in the world of the CIA black ops program Operation Treadstone, as seen in Universal’s Bourne franchise. Heroes creator Tim Kring is behind the Treadstone series
The other three pilots ordered are ERASE, a crime-thriller starring Denis Leary and created by Leary and Alex Cary; BRIARPATCH, a series based on the Ross Thomas novel that’s exec. produced by Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot); and DARE ME, also based on a book, this one being Megan Abbott’s novel about the world of high school cheerleading. That last one is from Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) and Michael Lombardo, and all four shows are from Universal Cable Productions.
Written and exec. produced by Kring, Treadstone explores the origins of Treadstone, the CIA’s covert black ops program that turns its agents into unstoppable superhuman assassins. The series will follow sleeper agents from across the globe as they’re mysteriously “awakened” to resume their deadly missions.
Exec-producing the series with Kring is filmmaker Ramin Bahrani, who will direct the pilot, while Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner will executive produce for Captivate. Justin Levy will executive produce with Bradley Thomas for Imperative Entertainment.
The Denis Leary creim-thriller series Erase follows the story of Leary’s Donal O’Neal, a dirty ex-cop who changes his tune as he decides to bring down his corrupt superior officers. O’Neal uses his photographic memory in this pursuit until he begins to develop early-onset Alzheimer’s. (How is THAT for a high concept series?) Leary and Cary executive produce the show with Apostle Pictures’ Jim Serpico, this being Leary’s first series with series since the comedy Sirens.
Andy Greenwald is adapting Ross Thomas’ Briarpatch for USA, which is a co-production between UCP and Paramount Television. The show “celebrates the beloved genre that Thomas’ book represents — a unique blend of crime, thriller, mystery, and pulp fiction – while updating his electrifying sense of fun, danger and place for a new generation.”
The series will follow investigator Allegra Dill, as she returns to her border-town Texas home after her sister is murdered by a car bomb, as she tries to fight against what her corrupt hometown has become.
Greenwald exec. produces the series with Sam Esmail and his Esmail Corp production company, as well as Anonymous Content’s Chad Hamilton. Yann Demange will direct and serve as executive producer.
Megan Abbott will adapt her own acclaimed novel Dare Me, as writer and exec. producer of the series that looks at the volatile female friendships, jealousy and the dynamics of power in a small Midwestern town. It does so by looking into the cutthroat world of competitive high school cheerleading. It does so through the relationship between two best friends when a new coach arrives to take their cheerleading team to prominence. Unlike the Universal hit Bring It On, which spawned a series of straight-to-video sequels, Dare Me is handled more like a drama that involves a murder mystery. Abbott was also a story editor on HBO’s drama The Deuce.
Dare Me is from UCP and Film 44, the new production company from Peter Berg and Michael Lombardo, who will exec. produce the series with Sarah Condon and Karen Rosenfelt. Dare Me continues Berg’s long-standing relationship with Universal that goes back to Friday Night Lights (the film and then the TV series), The Rundown and The Kingdom.
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor