A&E pursues cop dramas

Scripted projects include James Ellroy's 'Lead'

A&E is going on a crime spree, putting a half-dozen scripted police dramas in development.

Shawn Ryan, James Ellroy and Joel Gotler are exec producers of one contender, “The Lead Sheet,” with Ellroy writing the script. Project is a period piece, with the Los Angeles Police Dept.’s pursuit of the notorious Hillside Strangler in 1977-78 as backdrop.

A&E is also entertaining two concepts featuring crime fighters with mental issues: “The Quickening,” by Jennifer Salt (“Nip/Tuck”), is about a bipolar LAPD detective who performs better when off her medication, and “Night Falls” concerns a New York cop with a Jekyll-and-Hyde neurological condition. Brian Robbins (“One Tree Hill”) is exec producing the latter, with Dan Connolly writing.

An untitled project from Matthew Carnahan (“Dirt”), with actor Anthony LaPaglia attached as exec producer, has echoes of “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” in proposing to spend half of the show with a group of criminals and the other half with the FBI team assigned to capture them.

“NY’s Finest,” focusing on a new police commissioner, comes from reality producer Thom Beers (“Deadliest Catch”) and Philip Segal. Charles Murray (“Criminal Minds”) is the writer. Finally, a precinct with two female captains is the focus of “Central Division,” written by Anne McGrail (“Boomtown”) and exec produced by Lynda Obst and Marc Rosen.

The cabler said it will push two of its candidates into the pilot stage in coming weeks, joining the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced “Cooler Kings” (Daily Variety, May 12). Of A&E’s primetime slate, 60% is firstrun fare, according to the cabler.

“We’ve begun 2009 with our best quarter ever, and I expect that we will continue to excel as a result of our significant investment in original programming,” A&E prexy and g.m. Bob DeBitetto said.

Whatever emerges from A&E’s development will join Benjamin Bratt starrer “The Cleaner,” which will premiere its second season June 23.

A&E also announced three nonscripted pilots and a Western-themed miniseries produced by Kevin Costner. The nonscripted projects are “Love Shaq,” featuring NBA star Shaquille O’Neal and his family of seven; “Bob Saget on America,” a travelogue from the comedian; and the all-access “American Mogul: Russell Simmons.”

Nonscripted series that A&E has renewed are “Intervention,” “The First 48,” “Gene Simmons Family Jewels,” “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” “Crime 360,” “Criss Angel Mindfreak,” “Paranormal State,” “Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force” and “Parking Wars.”

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