CBS builds on dossier with ‘Agency’ head

Petersen, Radiant to develop scripts for Eye

Hot off the premiere of his CBS drama “The Agency,” filmmaker Wolfgang Petersen is close to sealing a two-year deal to continue producing TV programming for the Eye.

Under the deal, Petersen’s Radiant Prods. banner will develop three scripts for CBS; at least one will be turned into a pilot for the web. The network will also get first look at any miniseries or TV movie produced by Petersen, the helmer behind blockbusters such as “Air Force One” and “In the Line of Fire.”

Petersen had previously signed a two-year pact with CBS in 1999, from which “The Agency” was born. The CIA thriller’s debut last Thursday pulled respectable ratings opposite the season premiere of NBC’s “ER.”

Petersen said he opted to stick with CBS given “the good working relationship we’ve had with (CBS Television topper) Leslie Moonves, (entertainment prexy) Nancy Tellem and (drama chief) Nina Tassler.”

“I like these people a lot, and vice versa,” Petersen said. “I think they were really in sync with me.”

Petersen, who started out directing TV movies in his native Germany during the late 1970s, said he had also fallen in love again with the medium.

“I had so much fun in the last month working on ‘The Agency,’ ” he said. “(TV) is actually in my background. But here it’s a whole new situation — it’s so fast. It’s a little bit intimidating. To see what comes out in just eight days is amazing.”

Petersen said his team — which includes partner Gail Katz and Rosemary Tarquinio, who oversees Radiant’s TV projects — hadn’t yet determined their next small-screen project.

“Everything’s going in the direction of reality, what feels real,” he said. “Coming from Germany, I’m fascinated by things that are very American, like the CIA. We’ll definitely stay in that genre… (but we) might want to go a little lighter and more comedic.”

As part of its television growth, Radiant will also expand its staff, Petersen said. That includes bringing in a senior executive to run Radiant TV. The company is also shopping around town for a potential studio partner; Spelling Television is a top candidate, Petersen said. (Radiant co-produces “Agency” with CBS Prods. and Studios USA.)

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