×

A&E packs ‘Wolfe’

Hutton, Chaykin topline cabler's 2nd series

A&E has given the go-ahead to its second U.S.-based series, landing stars Timothy Hutton and Maury Chaykin to reprise their roles in “Nero Wolfe,” a followup to the cabler’s March telepic “The Golden Spiders.”

Last month, A&E signed off on a 13-hour commitment to Sidney Lumet’s “100 Centre Street,” which starts production soon in New York for scheduling early in 2001.

Allen Sabinson, senior VP of programming for A&E, says the network originally planned to do a series of two-hour movies centering on private detective Nero Wolfe, starting with “Spiders,” which racked up a hefty 3.2-million cable households when A&E ran it March 5.

12-hour commitment

That rating, coupled with the critical praise garnered by Chaykin in the role of Wolfe and by Hutton as Wolfe’s assistant Archie Goodwin, prompted A&E to sign Chaykin and Hutton to a series encompassing 12 hours.

Michael Jaffe, one of the producers of both “Wolfe” and “100 Centre Street” with his partner Howard Braunstein, said the “Wolfe” episodes will cost $1 million apiece. In exchange for an undisclosed license fee, A&E will get to own the series in the U.S. and Canada. Jaffe-Braunstein, which owns “Wolfe” in the rest of the world, has licensed the distribution of the series outside the U.S. to Pearson Intl. TV.

Sources said the combination of A&E’s and Pearson’s license fees will cover the full production cost of “Wolfe.” The series will be shot in Toronto, which will double for New York in the 1950s.

Jaffe said that all the episodes will be based on the novels of Rex Stout, who wrote a total of 72 between 1934 and 1975. Hutton will direct the first episode, a two-hour adaptation by Jaffe of Stout’s “The Doorbell Rang,” featuring J. Edgar Hoover as a character.

“Wolfe” and “Centre Street” are the first domestic series A&E has commissioned, after buying innumerable British-produced detective series — everything from Sherlock Holmes to Inspector Poirot — and miniseries.

Sabinson said more U.S.-based original series are in development.

More TV

  • Pinewood Studios James Bond

    Netflix's Shepperton Studios Deal Is Stretching the U.K.'s Production Limits

    Netflix’s huge new hub at Shepperton Studios outside London is a further fillip for Britain’s booming production sector. Amid jitters over Brexit and its effects on the economy, the streaming giant’s commitment is a vote of confidence in the U.K. entertainment industry and a continuing source of local jobs. But the decision by Netflix to [...]

  • BBC ITV BritBox Streaming

    BritBox to Roll Out in the U.K. in Fourth Quarter

    British broadcasters the BBC and ITV have formally agreed to launch their joint streaming service, BritBox, in the U.K. in the fourth quarter of 2019. It will be priced at £5.99 per month, making it the same price as the cheapest Netflix subscription in the U.K. ITV will control BritBox, holding a 90% stake. The [...]

  • Kamala Harris

    Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Face Rematch in Next Democratic Debate

    Former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris will have the opportunity to square off again in the second debate among Democratic hopefuls vying for their party’s nomination in the 2020 presidential election CNN, which will broadcast the next round of debates on July 30 and 31, televised a draw Thursday night that decided [...]

  • Jon Wax

    Jon Wax Joins Amazon Studios as Head of Genre Programming

    YouTube’s head of scripted programming Jon Wax is joining Amazon Studios as its head of genre programming, Variety has learned. Wax will take up the position recently vacated by Sharon Tal Yguado. He had joined YouTube in August 2017, heading up drama, unscripted and current programming for YouTube’s premium channel. Prior to that, he had [...]

  • South Park Donald Trump

    TV News Roundup: Comedy Central Sets 'South Park' Season 23 Premiere Date

    In today’s TV News roundup, Comedy Central announces the premiere date of “South Park” Season 23 and Netflix sets the premiere date and offers a first look at “Unbelievable.”  DATES Comedy Central announced that Season 23 of “South Park” will premiere Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 10 p.m. Because the episodes are written and animated so [...]

  • US actor Kevin Spacey (C) is

    Kevin Spacey Shouldn't Be Exonerated in Hollywood Even as Criminal Case Ends (Column)

    The news that criminal charges against Kevin Spacey in the Nantucket groping case have been dropped raises an inevitable question: does this mean he can claw his way back into Hollywood’s good graces? Or maybe more importantly: should it?  Spacey’s rapid descent was startling, even as it quickly followed that of the once untouchable producing [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content