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Michael Chiklis to Star in Drama Series ‘Coyote’ in Development at Paramount Network

Michael Chiklis will star in and executive produce the drama “Coyote” currently in development at Paramount NetworkVariety has learned.

The series follows Ben Clemens (Chiklis) who, on the day of his mandatory retirement from the United States Border Patrol, discovers an illicit tunnel used to mainline black market goods into the United States from Mexico. This soon puts Clemens in the crosshairs of the criminal mastermind he’s spent his career trying to destroy.

Josh Gilbert, Michael Carnes, and David Graziano will write and executive produce. Michelle MacLaren is attached to executive produce and direct, with Dark Horse Entertainment’s Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg also executive producing. MacLaren Entertainment, Dark Horse Entertainment, and Sony Pictures Television will produce.

Chiklis is perhaps best known for his starring role as Vic Mackey in the FX cop drama “The Shield,” for which he was nominated for multiple Emmys and Golden Globe Awards, winning one of each. He also starred in the popular ABC series “The Commish,” playing the police commissioner of a small town for five seasons and nearly 100 episodes. His other recent TV credits include “Gotham,” “American Horror Story,” and “Vegas.” On the feature side, he appeared as The Thing in 2005’s “Fantastic Four” and its sequel, “Rise of the Silver Surfer,” as well as films like “Eagle Eye,” “When the Game Stands Tall,” and the English dubbed version of “Spirited Away.”

He is repped by WME and Management 360.

MacLaren’s previous directing credits include “Game of Thrones,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Walking Dead,” “Better Call Saul,” “The Deuce,” and “Westworld.” She is repped by ICM and Stone Genow.

Since rebranding from Spike TV last year, Paramount Network’s new shows include the Kevin Costner-led drama series “Yellowstone” as well as Spike holdovers like “Ink Master,” “Bar Rescue,” and “Lip Sync Battle.” The Darren Star series “Emily in Paris” starring Lily Collins is expected to launch on the network in 2020. Tracy Oliver’s series adaptation of “The First Wives Club” was also originally set up at Paramount Network, but that show was shifted to BET in November. That show had previously been in development at TV Land before moving to Paramount Network. “American Woman”–which was originally developed at TV Land–and the TV Land series “Nobodies” moved over to Paramount Network after the rebrand but were subsequently canceled.

“What we’ve really tried to do is not make idle proclamations out of the gate,” Kent Alterman, president of Paramount Network, Comedy Central, and TV Land, told Variety. “We’ve really taken some time to dive in and look at what the rebrand really brought and what worked and what hasn’t worked. We’ve tried to be very strategic and do a lot of audience research.”

Alterman, a veteran Viacom executive, saw his portfolio grow last year when he gained oversight of Paramount Network and TV Land. He has been president of Comedy Central since 2016, and previously served as the cabler’s top programming executive.

With “Coyote,” Alterman and his team continue to advance a programming strategy for Paramount Network designed to appeal to a broader base of viewers than is being served by some premium services.

“None of us can think of a time that is more polarizing and fractured than the times we’re living in now,” Alterman said. “That informs a lot of how we approach what we’re doing” at Comedy Central and Paramount Network. “Comedy is one of the greatest ways of processing the insanity of the world. And on the drama side, drama is an incredible escape from the world.”


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