×

NBC pays for ‘Criminal’ pilot

Peacock arrested by 'Criminal Behavior'

NBC has given a significant pilot commitment to “UC: Undercover” exec producer Shane Salerno and star Ray Liotta to develop a cop drama set in Los Angeles.

“Criminal Behavior,” from NBC Universal TV, is based on real-life police department squads popping up across the country that focuses on apprehending a city’s most dangerous fugitives before they commit more crimes.

The personality-driven drama stars Liotta as Frank Nolan, detective-sergeant with the Major Crimes Unit of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. Nolan’s a smart and driven plain-clothes cop charged with tracking down these criminals.

The pilot commitment comes attached with a hefty $2 million penalty; Liotta has also snared a seven-figure paycheck to star in the project and will serve as a producer. Peacock was also behind “UC: Undercover.”

Jordan Davis, the wife of feature producer John Davis, first came up with the concept last fall after seeing TV reports and reading stories about the police units. The couple then called Salerno, who was in Prague rewriting “Alien vs. Predator” for Davis.

Salerno said he took six months researching the project.

“Of all the stuff I’ve written, I came across one statistic that blew my mind: 10% of the most active criminals are responsible for 50% of a city’s crime,” Salerno said. “Eliminate 10% of the criminals and you eliminate 50% of the crime — that was an incredibly cool concept for me.”

Much of that time was spent with law enforcement officers fighting these uber-criminals in Los Angeles, as well as studying profiles of the actual criminals on the loose.

“These are the anti-TV cops,” he said. “It’s not a secret unit, they don’t drive Ferraris, they don’t wear Armani suits, they’re not 27.”

In the vein of shows like “Law & Order,” Salerno said stories will be based on real-life fugitives.

“I’ve never found such rich story material as I have researching these real criminals,” he said.

“Criminal Behavior” will also focus on the dichotomy between Frank Nolan’s work and home life. Liotta’s character will begin dating a woman with a 3-year-old daughter later in the series. Salerno compares it to a cross between Liotta’s hardcore portrayal in “Narc” and dramatic role in “Corrina, Corrina.”

Salerno said the role was specifically written for Liotta, who came to the project through Davis. The thesp appeared in two features produced by Davis, including “Heartbreakers.”

Liotta joined Salerno in pitching the project; all four major nets bid on the project, but NBC stepped up the most.

“When we met with (NBC Entertainment prexy) Kevin Reilly, we were huge fans of “The Shield” and “Nip/Tuck” (which he developed at FX),” Salerno said. “He has a way of doing edgy, smart shows. We wanted to do the network version of that.”

Salerno (whose other credits include “Shaft” and “Armageddon”) and the Davises will exec produce “Criminal Behavior.” Davis, whose recent feature credits include “I, Robot” and “Garfield the Movie,” said he hoped to use “Criminal Behavior” as a launching pad to push his shingle further into TV.

“Shane has delivered a take on all this that’s truly different from anything we see on TV now,” Davis said.

(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)

More TV

  • Smithsonian subscription VOD

    Smithsonian Networks Launches New Subscription VOD Service, Folding in Smithsonian Earth

    Smithsonian Networks has expanded its push to reach cord-cutters with the launch of Smithsonian Channel Plus, promising subscribers 1,000-plus hours of streaming nonfiction programming for $5 per month. The new subscription VOD service incorporates and supersedes Smithsonian Earth, the company’s $3.99-monthly SVOD service that launched three years ago, which had been geared around nature and wildlife. [...]

  • 'My Brilliant Friend' Scores Brilliant Ratings

    'My Brilliant Friend' Scores Brilliant Ratings at Home

    With its international rollout well underway, the critically acclaimed TV series “My Brilliant Friend,” based on the first of Italian author Elena Ferrante’s bestselling “Neapolitan Novels,” is scoring strong ratings at home in Italy, and is also playing well in the U.S. and U.K. The show, which explores the bounds of female friendship, is being [...]

  • Himesh Patel, Ewen Leslie Join BBC

    Himesh Patel, Ewen Leslie Join BBC Adaptation of Man Booker Prize Winner ‘The Luminaries’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Himesh Patel and Ewen Leslie have joined “The Luminaries,” with production now underway on the highly anticipated series adaptation of Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker Prize-winning novel. The pair join Eve Hewson (“The Knick”), Eva Green (“Penny Dreadful”) and Marton Csokas (“Into the Badlands”) in the period piece. The high-end drama is being produced by Working [...]

  • Ryan KadroPaleyLive NY: The News Is

    ‘CBS This Morning’ Executive Producer in Potential Exit Talks

    Ryan Kadro, the executive producer of “CBS This Morning” and one of the architects of the A.M. program, is currently in contract discussions that could lead to his exit from the show, according to three people familiar with the matter. Kadro’s contract is slated to run out at the end of the year, and he [...]

  • NBC's California O&Os to Launch 'California

    NBC's California O&Os to Launch 'California Live' Daily Daytime Series

    NBC’s three California O&Os are set to launch a live daily lifestyle series dubbed “California Live.” The series will air at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday across KNBC-TV Los Angeles, KNTV-TV San Francisco and KNSD San Diego. The show will have some modular segments that will be customized for each market, with an emphasis on [...]

  • TV Roundup: Netflix Sets 'Tidying Up

    TV News Roundup: Steven Yeun Joins 'Twilight Zone' at CBS All Access

    In Wednesday’s roundup, Netflix reveals the premiere date for “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” and Steven Yeun joins Jordan Peele’s “Twilight Zone” reboot. FIRST LOOKS  Variety has an exclusive behind-the-scenes first look at Season 2 of Showtime’s “SMILF,” featuring creator and star, Frankie Shaw. The new season, which premieres Sunday, Jan. 20 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT, finds Bridgette trying to move [...]

  • Charlie Rose Sexual Harassment

    CBS News Settles Suit Alleging Harassment by Charlie Rose

    CBS News settled a lawsuit filed by three women who alleged they were harassed by former “CBS This Morning” co-anchor Charlie Rose, and claimed CBS did not act despite being aware of the situation. The amount awarded to the women was not disclosed at their request, according to a CBS News spokesperson. “The matter has [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content