'The Commuters' long in the works
CBS added two more pilots to its drama roster Tuesday, including a legal hour from scribe-exec producer Ed Redlich and a sudsy hour written three years ago that’s being revived post- “Desperate Housewives.”Late Tuesday, NBC also picked up an hour from Touchstone-based Tollin/Robbins. As for the long-in-the-works Eye project, script — dubbed “The Commuters” — comes from scribe-exec producer Dan Bucatinsky. Script revolves around three couples in the suburbs; the husbands all commute together each day on the train to Gotham. Characters will be deeply flawed and include a gambling addict and a couple who are very happily married but are cheating on one another. Bucatinsky developed the show at CBS in December 2001, when the project was set up at 20th Century Fox TV. Rights eventually reverted back to the scribe, who has now set up the project at Paramount Network TV. There’s been talk that 20th may still get involved, and while 20th and Par are talking about a co-production, as of late Tuesday, the project was all Par. A rep for 20th declined comment. While CBS chose not to make “Commuters” three years ago, then-CBS drama chief Nina Tassler — now entertainment prexy at the web — didn’t forget about the script, Bucatinsky said. Bucatinsky said Tassler’s memory was prompted by “my agent Ari Greenburg, who saw an opportunity after ‘Desperate Housewives’ hit big. He called Nina up and said now was the right time to do it, and she agreed.” Interestingly, Bucatinsky was developing another, newer project for CBS at the time the net decided to order “Commuters” to pilot. While Bucatinsky said “DH” helped “pave the way” for a sudsers like “Commuters,” he said the show’s tone will be much different. “It’s not as campy. It’s much more ‘American Beauty’ than anything else,” he said. Scribe said he was inspired by his own years living in Gotham, watching commuters coming and going and realizing “inside every one of those people was a secret.” Bucatinsky is partnered with Lisa Kudrow in the Warner Bros. TV-based Is or Isn’t Entertainment shingle, which is producing “The Comeback” for HBO. WBTV agreed to loan out Bucatinsky so that he could work on “Commuters.” Is or Isn’t remains in development on several other projects, including a script in contention at NBC. Meanwhile, Eye has said OK to “Conviction,” a WBTV-produced hour from exec producers Redlich, Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly. Show’s about a defense attorney-turned-prosecutor who crafts his cases by telling a detailed story. And NBC gave the go-ahead to Tollin-Robbins produced “Inconceivable,” which Marco Pennette and Oliver Goldstick will exec produce. Skein’s about doctors, shrinks and lawyers who work in a fertility clinic.