Bruckheimer plants ‘Crime’ scene

Fox takes on legal skein

Warner Bros.-based Jerry Bruckheimer Television has snagged its second pilot order in a week, setting up the legal-themed “American Crime” at Fox Broadcasting.

Tyler Bensinger, co-exec producer on Bruckheimer’s “Cold Case,” will write and exec produce. David McNally, who directed the Bruckheimer features “Kangaroo Jack” and “Coyote Ugly,” will reunite with the uberproducer to direct and exec produce.

Bruckheimer and TV chief Jonathan Littman are also onboard as exec producers.

“American Crime” will explore the world of high-powered Los Angeles lawyers — think Mark Geragos or the late Johnnie Cochran. According to one person familiar with the pitch, the show will focus on the forensics of law, examining how the celeb lawyers go about freeing their clients, most of whom are either very rich or involved in high-profile cases.

Deal with Fox was closed just days after NBC pacted with Bruckheimer TV for the Gary Ross-penned pilot “Invisible” (Daily Variety, Oct. 26).

Name of the Fox project will be familiar to industry insiders: Bruckheimer and Littman used “American Crime” as the working title for a CBS drama contender last year. Eye picked up the project to series, but by the time it was announced in May, its name became “Close to Home.”

“American Crime” is also the first Bruckheimer project to be set up at Fox since “Skin,” the short-lived drama that lasted several weeks in fall 2003.

Bensinger has been a writer on “Cold Case” since the show bowed in 2003. He’d previously spent several years in the Aaron Spelling camp, writing for “Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Titans”; he also wrote and directed the 1997 Steven Weber feature “Just Looking.”

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