×

‘The Blacklist’ Female-Led Spinoff in the Works at NBC, Famke Janssen to Star

NBC and Sony Pictures Television are plotting a spin-off for “The Blacklist” and will air a backdoor pilot this spring, Variety has learned. Famke Janssen has been tapped to star in the possible, female-led series.

Though the network has not made any official commitment to an actual spin-off, should a series be greenlit, it would revolve around Janssen’s central female character, in contrast to the original series, which stars James Spader.

Though plot details are being kept under wraps, Janssen (“X-Men,” “How to Get Away With Murder”) will play a character named Susan “Scottie” Halsted. She will make her debut on the May 5 episode of the flagship series. She will star in the following episode on May 12 —  one week before “Blacklist’s” Season 3 finale — which will serve as the backdoor pilot. Insiders tell Variety that Janssen’s character was conceived as Ryan Eggold’s on-screen mother.

Michael Dinner (“Justified,” “Masters of Sex”) will direct the May 12 episode, though a writer has not been determined yet.

The potential spin-off has been in talks since late last year. Speaking to Variety last month, NBC entertainment president Jennifer Salke confirmed discussions were happening, though she stayed mum on further details. “The only thing I can say is where talking about planting some characters in the show, much in the way that we do in the world of the ‘Chicago’ shows. They could be explored as a potential spin-off, but we have in no way committed to a spin-off series,” she said.

The Blacklist” planted pilot marks the second continuation of a franchise at NBC this TV season, joining “Chicago Law,” which Variety was first to report is in the works at NBC. That project, which comes from Dick Wolf’s super successful “Chicago” franchise, is also in contention for the 2016-17 season, like the female “Blacklist” vehicle, which would give NBC the opportunity to either have year-round “Blacklist” programming or a double-header “Blacklist” block, as the flagship series has already landed an early fourth season renewal.

Though no longer the huge hit it seemed when it aired during season one behind “The Voice,” “The Blacklist” is still a steady performer for NBC, currently ranking as their No. 3-rated scripted program in both adults 18-49 (2.6 rating) and total viewers (10.82 million), according to Nielsen’s “live plus-3” estimates. Having a companion series could fare well for the franchise, as a fresh new show would perhaps bring more eyes to the original, especially through dual promotion on the network.

Janssen is repped by ICM Partners and Brookside Artists.

Update, 5:20 p.m: Should the spinoff be ordered to series, Edi Gathegi will also star as a regular. He currently appears in “The Blacklist,” and would reprise his role of Mr. Solomon. He is also repped by ICM.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Ballers HBO

    'Ballers' to End After Season 5 on HBO

    “Ballers” is coming to an end after five seasons on HBO. Star and executive producer Dwayne Johnson confirmed the news via an emotional Instagram video. “My heart is full of gratitude to all of you for rocking with us every season. You made us HBO’s highest rated comedy for years and most importantly, you helped [...]

  • Sublime Primetime

    How Emmy-Nominated Writers’ Rooms Keep Politics in Mind

    In a world filled with elections, social movements and national tragedies, how open should the doors of a writers’ room actually be? For some of this year’s Emmy-nominated shows, those doors are wide open. Before the 71st annual Primetime Emmy Awards air on Sept. 22, the Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild Foundation, [...]

  • Disney Villains Series 'Book of Enchantment'

    'Book of Enchantment' Series Based on Iconic Disney Villains Shelved at Disney Plus

    Disney Plus has decided to not move forward with “Book of Enchantment,” a series based on some of Disney’s most iconic villains, Variety has learned from sources. The news comes the day before Disney is set to unveil its streaming service at the biannual D23 convention in Anaheim. The prospective project was based on the [...]

  • ITV STUDIOS PRESENTS VERAFILM 2Pictured: BRENDA

    Brenda Blethyn to Star in New ITV Sitcom 'Kate and Kolo'

    Oscar-nominated Brenda Blethyn is set to star in the new sitcom “Kate and Kolo” for ITV, the U.K. broadcaster announced at the Edinburgh TV Festival. Blethyn takes on the title role of Kate in the comedy alongside theater and film actor Jimmy Akingbola as Kolo. Blethyn is a popular star with ITV audiences after having [...]

  • Sean Spicer Emmys

    Sean Spicer's Casting Explained? Red States Love 'Dancing With the Stars'

    ABC faced backlash this week after casting former White House press secretary Sean Spicer on “Dancing with the Stars.” But that outrage might actually spice up the dancing competition’s dwindling ratings — particularly in Trump Country. “Dancing with the Stars” has faced a relatively alarming decline in ratings over the past two cycles, falling 32% [...]

  • Peppa Pig

    Hasbro Acquires Entertainment One in $4 Billion All-Cash Deal

    Toymaker Hasbro is acquiring studio Entertainment One in an all-cash transaction valued at $4 billion, bringing My Little Pony and Nerf under the same umbrella as “Peppa Pig” and “PJ Masks” and furthering Hasbro’s growth goals in the infant and preschool categories. Hasbro aims to expand its operations in film and TV. Entertainment One’s production [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content