ABC has its “Eyes” on the latest project from “Fastlane” scribe-exec producer John McNamara.
Alphabet’s given a seven-figure put pilot commitment to the hourlong drama, which will revolve around a 21st century version of a detective agency — specifically, a high-powered risk management corporation that operates along the fringes of the law in order to affect the outcome of a host of civil and criminal matters.
McNamara will write and exec produce the pilot via his Warner Bros. TV-based McNamara Paper Products shingle.
“It’s an investigative franchise with a corporate thriller aspect to it underneath,” said ABC drama topper Thom Sherman. “It’s got a great central character and lots of interesting ensemble (roles).”
McNamara said the idea for “Eyes” came to him while listening to a radio report about a risk management firm.
“It made my ears prick up because I had never heard the term,” he said. “There’s this world that exists in corporate America that people don’t know about.”
McNamara and a researcher began digging deeper into the topic of risk management, and the scribe soon realized that these modern gumshoes would provide a great opening to explore a slew of story ideas. A risk management firm helped the FBI track down Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.
“It’s like I opened the door to this whole hidden world,” he said. “There was no aspect of civil or criminal activity they couldn’t be involved in.”
Inspired by shows such as “L.A. Law” and his own short-lived skein with David Greenwalt, Fox’s “Profit,” McNamara also intends to populate the world of “Eyes” with a rich ensemble of characters, many of them morally challenged in some way.
“In this world, everybody’s a liar and everybody’s a lie detector,” he said, noting that another influence on “Eyes” will be BBC America’s “The Office.”
“That show is interesting because it’s all about corporate intrigue, but the people in it happen to be morons,” McNamara said. “I thought, what if you did a show like ‘The Office,’ but the people were all very smart and operated at a high level of intrigue.”
While “Eyes” will tell close-ended stories each week, much of the drama also will be serialized. “There’s nothing close-ended about human behavior,” he said.
McNamara’s TV take on “The Fugitive” and last season’s McG-helmed “Fastlane” were among the most buzzed-about new skeins of their respective seasons, while “Profit” maintains a cult following (so much show that it recently landed on cabler Trio as part of the net’s “Brilliant But Cancelled” festival.)
Sherman said he’s hopeful that “Eyes,” if greenlit to series, will end up enduring beyond one season.
“John’s got that big show in him, which is why people have bet on him every year,” Sherman said. “He’s a really great writer and a consummate showrunner, but luck also plays into things. We’re hoping we’re going to get the show from him that becomes that big hit.”
“Eyes” marks Endeavor-repped McNamara’s return to ABC. Scribe created and exec produced the 1998 drama “Vengeance Unlimited” for the net, as well as 1996’s “Spy Game.” He also spent several years on ABC’s “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”