You might think the creator of CBS' wildly successful "CSI" franchise would have an in with the network each pilot season. But Anthony Zuiker says it isn't so.
"I don't think I have more of an advatantage than anybody else," he said. "That network in particular is incredibly successful. Now we find ourselves even more challenged to get one or two slots that might be available."
Fortunately, he has a lot of contenders. Of the four new dramas his Dare to Pass Productions is developing, three are for CBS. The fourth is for the CW, his first for the network. Zuiker described them Tuesday in an interview with TheWrap.
"Detail," for CBS, is loosely based on bodyguard Kim Maree Penn. It's about a female bodyguard protecting a different "high-risk client of the week," Zuiker said. She's not only a bodyguard to her clients, but also a de facto counselor. Sarah Thorp ("The Bounty Hunter") is writing.
The previously reported "Desperado," also for CBS, is a San Antonio-set "very character-driven, family-oriented procedural" about a band of lawmen doling out "very Texas-centric cowboy justice." Kyle Ward ("Hitman 2") is writing.
"Treadstone," the third show in development for CBS, is a "citizen spy show" about spies in our daily lives, focused on "spies among us" in places we might not expect — at work, where we run errands, in the local newsroom. "Treadstone" is based on a black-ops network created by "Bourne" series author Robert Ludlum, and John Glenn ("Eagle Eye") will write.
CW's "Spirits," described as "'CSI' meets 'Paranormal Activity,'" with deep, emotional storylines, is about three women at a startup company that tries who try to help people with otherwordly problems. It's written by Jesse Alexander, a veteran of "Lost."
None of the shows, which are co-executive produced by Matthew Weinberg, are in the casting stage.
Zuiker is also keeping busy with his work on the eleventh season of "CSI," where, in September, he orchestrated a literary crossover featuring Sqweegel, the super villain from his interactive digi-novel series "Level 26." The format allows readers to access video at the Level 26 website with secret codes.
The episode brought such a solid ratings boost that Sqweegel will return for the finale.
"It's really the first time the Internet has driven people off the computer back to the TV," Zuiker said.