Kathy Bates-Led ‘Matlock,’ ‘Good Wife’ Spinoff Starring Carrie Preston Among CBS Drama Pilot Orders

Kathy Bates Carrie Preston
Philippe Bénard; Courtesy of CBS

CBS has ordered pilots for a new iteration of “Matlock” starring Kathy Bates and a spinoff of “The Good Wife” starring Carrie Preston, Variety has learned.

The new version of “Matlock,” which is inspired by the original series, hails from Jennie Snyder Urman, who will write and executive produce the pilot under her Sutton Street Productions banner. Bates will executive produce in addition to starring. Joanna Klein of Sutton Street will also executive produce along with Eric Christian Olsen and John Will. Sutton Street is currently under an overall deal at CBS Studios, which will produce the pilot.

The official logline for the show states, “After achieving success in her younger years, the brilliant septuagenarian Madeline Matlock (Bates) rejoins the work force at a prestigious law firm where she uses her unassuming demeanor and wily tactics to win cases and expose corruption from within. Based on the classic television series of the same name.”

The original “Matlock” aired on NBC from 1986-1992 and on ABC from 1992-1995. The show starred Andy Griffith in the title role and ultimately ran for nine seasons and nearly 200 episodes. It also led to the spinoff series “Jake and the Fatman,” which aired for five seasons on CBS.

“The Good Wife” spinoff is titled “Elsbeth,” named after Preston’s character Elsbeth Tascioni whom she played on both “The Good Wife” and streaming series “The Good Fight.”

“Elsbeth” is written by “The Good Wife” and “The Good Fight” creators Robert and Michelle King, with Robert also set to direct the pilot. The Kings and Liz Glotzer executive produce via King Size Productions. CBS Studios is also producing “Elsbeth,” with the Kings under an overall deal there as well.

In the show, “After her successful career in Chicago, Elsbeth Tascioni (Preston), an astute but unconventional attorney, utilizes her singular point of view to make unique observations and corner brilliant criminals alongside the NYPD.”

The move to continue the world of “The Good Wife” and “The Good Fight” is not surprising. The former ran for seven seasons on CBS, nabbing 43 Emmy nominations and five wins throughout its run. Spinoff series “The Good Fight” was the first original show to launch on Paramount+ (then known as CBS All Access). It aired for six critically-acclaimed seasons and wrapped up in November 2022.

In addition to the two pilot orders, CBS is also opening writers’ rooms for two drama projects for potential straight-to-series pickups for the 2024-2025 season. Both projects are produced by CBS Studios.

The first of those projects is titled “Watson.” Inspired by the characters from Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries, the show is a contemporary take on the Dr. Watson character. And although CBS previously aired the modern Sherlock Holmes series “Elementary” starring Johnny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Watson, this show is a completely separate and new project.

In the new show, “Shortly after the death of his friend and partner Sherlock Holmes at the hands of Moriarty, Dr. John Watson resumes his medical career as the head of a clinic dedicated to treating rare genetic disorders, only to uncover a startling secret that puts him in the crosshairs of Moriarty once again.”

Craig Sweeny will write and executive produce the show. Aaron Kaplan and Brian Morewitz of Kapital Entertainment will also executive produce, as will Shäron Moalem MD, PhD. Sweeny is under an overall deal with CBS Studios.

Finally, CBS is developing the medical drama “The Pact” from writer and executive producer Marcus Dalzine. The series is based on the book “The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream” by Dr. Sampson Davis, Dr. George Jenkins, and Dr. Rameck Hunt, with Lisa Frazier Page.

Per the logline, “After a childhood pact leads three friends from inner-city Newark to become doctors, they reunite in their hometown to open a medical center to serve their community.”

Sheila Ducksworth, Leon Russell, and Derrick Johnson of the CBS/NAACP Production Venture will executive produce along with Davis, Jenkins, and Hunt.