After a dozen years at Warner Bros. TV, prolific scribe-producer John McNamara is setting up shop at CBS Paramount Network Television.
McNamara — currently showrunning the studio’s high-profile Ridley and Tony Scott pilot “Orpheus” — has signed a two-year, seven-figure overall deal with the Eye studio. He’ll create and develop series projects while also pitching in on existing series.
Scribe’s past credits include co-creating “Eyes” (ABC), “Fastlane” (Fox) and “Spy Game” (ABC), as well as the 1996 cult fave “Profit.” He also served as showrunner on the Eye’s 2000 revival of “The Fugitive.” CBS Par prexy David Stapf said McNamara’s track record of landing spots on network skeds made him a good get for the studio.
“He gets shows ordered,” Stapf said. “He’s a rare combination: a great writer and a great showrunner, and you get the added value with John that he’s also a mentor to other writers and a great collaborator with executives at both the studio and the network.”
McNamara’s deal with WBTV expired last spring, and while he planned to take a yearlong hiatus, “I wimped out and only took eight months off,” scribe told Daily Variety from the set of “Orpheus.”
Pilot, from scribe Nicholas Meyer (“Collateral Damage”), persuaded McNamara to break his hiatus, as did the chance to reunite with Stapf. The two men worked together at Warner Bros. and, more recently, when Stapf was the current exec in charge of “The Fugitive.”
McNamara said the offbeat tone of “Orpheus” — skein examines a cult-like organization — speaks well of CBS Par.
“There are huge advantages to being at a company that still has the confidence of success,” he said. “CBS and Paramount are saying they want to try new stuff. I like the attitude of people who are pragmatic and practical but are willing to take a few risks.”
McNamara got his TV start in telepics. He began his WBTV career on “The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.” and was a supervising producer on “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.”