West is the ‘Man’ for LL Cool J show

Director inks deal with CBS Paramount

Simon West is “The Man” for CBS Paramount Network Television.

Helmer of features such as “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” and “Con Air,” has inked a new two-year overall development deal with the studio. He’s also come aboard to direct and exec produce “The Man,” the Eye’s Anthony Zuiker-penned LL Cool J drama pilot.

West’s pact calls for him to continue developing and directing series projects for CBS Par via his Simon West Prods. banner. Jib Polhemus remains prexy of production for the film and TV company.

Helmer said he’d been intrigued by the idea of an LL Cool J skein since news broke last year that CBS has signed the musician-thesp to a talent holding deal.

“I was developing other things, and then I got the call a few weeks ago from CBS asking if I would be interested in directing it,” West told Daily Variety. “With Zuiker involved, I think the three of us can get together and hopefully make something very significant.”

West said he was attracted to “The Man” for its different take on the police drama. “It’s got procedural elements, but it’s much more emotionally based,” he said.

Pilot will lense in Los Angeles, and West said he looks forward to showing off the city in a new light, one different from that seen in some of the iconic cop hours of the 1960s and ’70s.

“It’s time for another show to reinvent L.A. and make it a cool place again,” said the British helmer. He plans to shoot in the usual L.A. environs — the beach, BevHills — as well as downtown, capturing the new loft-based cityscape that’s arisen in the past decade.

Zuiker created “The Man” and will exec produce with West. Polhemus will co-exec produce, with LL Cool J and Jason Barrett aboard as producers.

In addition to “The Man,” West is also attached to Sci Fi Channel’s “Revolution,” a previously announced two-hour pilot from creators Ed Redlich and John Bellucci.

As for his relationship with CBS Par, West said he’s settled into an easy shorthand with studio execs after nearly six years on the lot.

“It’s a very easy fit now,” he said.

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