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CBS taps Josh Berman for ‘CRU’

Series to feature Patterson's 'Crack' character

“CSI” alum Josh Berman has hit the books for his new action drama, plucking a character straight out of a James Patterson novel.

CBS is developing Berman’s project “The CRU,” an action hour he’s co-creating with true-crime scribe Katherine Ramsland. Hourlong (a script with penalty) will center on Michael Bennett, the lead character in Patterson’s 2007 novel “Step on a Crack.”

Sony Pictures TV, where Berman is now based, is producing.

“Step on a Crack” centers on Bennett, a homicide detective who’s thrust into the role of a negotiating team leader when hostages are taken at the funeral of a former first lady. Patterson’s second book in the Michael Bennett franchise is due in February; Berman said the new novel will reference Bennett’s work with the CRU — the “Catastrophic Response Unit.”

Berman said he started reading “Step on a Crack” while developing “The CRU” and decided that Bennett would make a great lead character in his series.

“I realized it was an out-of-the-box idea, but I wanted to rewind Michael Bennett’s life, from before the book franchise began, and tell his stories within the world I created,” Berman said. “I took a risk and pitched the idea to James Patterson.”

Patterson bought into the idea for “The CRU.”

“I was really looking for a top showrunner who shares my sensibilities for big audience entertainment,” Patterson said.

“Women’s Murder Club,” an ABC skein based on another Patterson book series, aired last season but was not renewed.

Berman, who’s set to exec produce, is serving as a consulting producer on Fox’s “Bones.” His Lifetime pilot “Drop Dead Diva” is in pre-production. Besides his stint as exec producer on “CSI,” Berman also created and exec produced Fox’s “Vanished.”

Ramsland is a professor of forensics who has consulted with Berman on past projects.

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