NBC gives ‘Life’ to hospital tale

Baer prescribes medical drama

“Law & Order: SVU” showrunner Neal Baer is going back to his medical roots, developing an hourlong hospital drama for NBC.

Baer, a longtime “ER” exec producer who scripted some of the skein’s more memorable early episodes, is teaming with “SVU” scribe Dawn DeNoon to pen the Peacock project. Tentatively dubbed “Life or Death,” script is being developed under Baer’s recently inked overall deal with NBC U Television Studios (Daily Variety, July 27).

Potential skein will be a sort of “Upstairs, Downstairs”-type drama about two adjacent Los Angeles hospitals — one a private facility for the wealthy, the other a county facility for the uninsured.

“We call them ‘beauty’ and ‘the beast,'” Baer said of the two hospitals.

At the center of the action will be a doctor who spends most of his time working at the county hospital but performs plastic surgery at the upscale hospital to make coin.

“It’s a single-lead show with a supporting cast of doctors who are essential to the show and all have their own stories,” Baer told Daily Variety. “It’s not as evenly divided as (the storylines on) ‘ER,’ but not as focused on one character as ‘House.’ ”

Baer concedes that, nearly 60 years after the medium’s birth, “coming up with a new TV hospital drama is a challenge. But I don’t think it’s impossible.

“It’s been seven years since I left ‘ER,’ and medicine has changed in so many ways,” he added. “I wanted to do something different and look at the different ways in which care is given to the very rich and the very poor.”

“Life or Death” will also have “a real undercurrent of humor,” Baer said, noting DeNoon has penned some of “SVU’s” more darkly comic segs. That was one reason he went to DeNoon when NBC asked him to create a medical drama.

Baer said he intends to remain with the Dick Wolf-produced “SVU” even if “Life or Death” goes to series.

A Harvard Medical School grad, Baer worked on the first seven years of “ER.” Among the episodes he penned: the Emmy-nommed “Hell or High Water,” the George Clooney-centric seg that had Dr. Ross rescuing a child from a flood while wearing a tux.

Baer is repped by Paradigm and Michael Gendler, DeNoon by Joan Vento-Hall.

More TV

  • Bob Iger Rupert Murdoch

    Disney-Fox Will Be Global Powerhouse, Especially in Asia and Europe

    “Law & Order: SVU” showrunner Neal Baer is going back to his medical roots, developing an hourlong hospital drama for NBC. Baer, a longtime “ER” exec producer who scripted some of the skein’s more memorable early episodes, is teaming with “SVU” scribe Dawn DeNoon to pen the Peacock project. Tentatively dubbed “Life or Death,” script […]

  • Issa Rae’s Talent Drive Leads to

    Issa Rae’s Talent Drive Leads to Sci-Fi Pilot ‘The Awoken’

    “Law & Order: SVU” showrunner Neal Baer is going back to his medical roots, developing an hourlong hospital drama for NBC. Baer, a longtime “ER” exec producer who scripted some of the skein’s more memorable early episodes, is teaming with “SVU” scribe Dawn DeNoon to pen the Peacock project. Tentatively dubbed “Life or Death,” script […]

  • DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - DECEMBER

    Dubai: Festival President Abdulhamid Juma on Growing The Market And Opening to TV

    “Law & Order: SVU” showrunner Neal Baer is going back to his medical roots, developing an hourlong hospital drama for NBC. Baer, a longtime “ER” exec producer who scripted some of the skein’s more memorable early episodes, is teaming with “SVU” scribe Dawn DeNoon to pen the Peacock project. Tentatively dubbed “Life or Death,” script […]

  • oprah actors on actors

    Oprah Winfrey to Receive 2018 Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 75th Annual Golden Globes (Watch)

    “Law & Order: SVU” showrunner Neal Baer is going back to his medical roots, developing an hourlong hospital drama for NBC. Baer, a longtime “ER” exec producer who scripted some of the skein’s more memorable early episodes, is teaming with “SVU” scribe Dawn DeNoon to pen the Peacock project. Tentatively dubbed “Life or Death,” script […]

  • Robert Knepper

    Warner Bros. Finds 'No Evidence of Wrongdoing' by Robert Knepper on 'iZombie' Set

    “Law & Order: SVU” showrunner Neal Baer is going back to his medical roots, developing an hourlong hospital drama for NBC. Baer, a longtime “ER” exec producer who scripted some of the skein’s more memorable early episodes, is teaming with “SVU” scribe Dawn DeNoon to pen the Peacock project. Tentatively dubbed “Life or Death,” script […]

  • Godless

    TV Review: 'Godless' on Netflix

    “Law & Order: SVU” showrunner Neal Baer is going back to his medical roots, developing an hourlong hospital drama for NBC. Baer, a longtime “ER” exec producer who scripted some of the skein’s more memorable early episodes, is teaming with “SVU” scribe Dawn DeNoon to pen the Peacock project. Tentatively dubbed “Life or Death,” script […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content