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Rene Balcer brings ‘DarkNet’ to USA

'Law & Order' vet calls show mix beween 'Matrix' and 'X-Files'

“Law & Order” vet Rene Balcer is developing his latest project, “DarkNet,” with USA Network.

In describing the premise of the show, Balcer said: “On one level, ‘Darknet’ is a cautionary tale about transhumanism inspired by something Ray Bradbury said,” Balcer said. “He thought the Internet was a massive scam perpetrated by computer companies. I thought, what if he was only half-right, and they had something far more sinister in mind.

“On another level, it’s a mystery series about a couple of cyber-crime investigators who stumble across a far-reaching conspiracy to change the course of human evolution. Or to put it simply, it’s ‘The X-Files’ meets ‘The Matrix.'”

Balcer has a history with USA Network, as “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” was a longtime staple on the NBCUniversal cabler. For 2013 and beyond, USA is looking to expand beyond the dramedy fare that has worked well for them in the past.

“You can see by the stuff they’ve been developing that they are trying to broaden the brand,” Balcer told Variety. “This may be a few darker cloud than their blue sky brand.”

Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment will exec produce.

Balcer is repped by UTA and the legal firm of Rohner Walerstein & Miloknay.

Balcer is currently showrunner on European drama “Jo,” which currently airs across the Pond on TF1 and is readying for a major international rollout. Show has been sold to 120 territories and 30 countries.

Jean Reno stars in the procedural as a Gallic detective investigating murders in Paris.

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