Network greenlights Gulf Coast gumshoe drama

A&E Network is heading to gator country, greenlighting a gumshoe drama set in a small town on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

A&E has given a 13-episode order to “Sugarloaf,” from Fox Television Studios. Series stars Matt Passmore as a homicide detective who’s run out of Chicago following a sex scandal and becomes wrapped up in a murder case. Show is targeted for a summer bow on the cabler.

Tana Nugent Jamieson, A&E’s senior veep of drama programming, said the skein is a little lighter in tone than the original crime shows the cabler has fielded in recent years, in part because of its setting.

“Florida is a great, fun blue-sky backdrop,” Jamieson said. “It’s still a crime-solving show, but what made it jump off the page for all of us is the characters and their relationships and the locations.” Net execs are also high on the breakout star potential of Passmore, an Aussie thesp with a number of TV series credits in Oz.

“He’s very charismatic and funny,” she said, adding that he has a nice “spark” with co-star Kiele Sanchez. “It ain’t Chekhov, but it’s fun and very entertaining,” added Fox TV Studios exec veep David Madden.

“Sugarloaf,” which will lens in Miami, was created by Clifton Campbell, who exec producers along with Gary Randall. Series also stars Carlos Gomez.

Jamieson said A&E would likely order another pilot or two later this year.

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