Leight to begin 'Treatment' Exec producer close to sealing deal with HBO By MICHAEL SCHNEIDER
"Law & Order: Criminal Intent" exec producer Warren Leight is close to sealing an overall deal with HBO.
The pay cabler is seeking to sign Leight to a writing and producing deal with an eye toward his becoming involved in the shrink skein "In Treatment" should it go to a second season.
With Leight's deal for "Criminal Intent" up, NBC Universal and USA had been busy attempting to hammer out a new pact to keep the scribe in place as showrunner for season eight (Daily Variety, May 23).More than one option(Co) Daily Variety Filmography, Year, Role (Co) Daily Variety
There was no word Sunday on potential replacements for Leight on "Criminal Intent." But "Law & Order" boss Dick Wolf is no stranger to turnover on his hit franchise's three series and has pointed out in the past that his shows have weathered showrunner changes thanks to his deep bench of producers.
Leight, for example, took over as showrunner of "Criminal Intent" in 2006 following the departure of Rene Balcer. Besides Leight and Wolf, "Criminal Intent" exec producers include Peter Jankowski and Norberto Barba.
USA and Universal Media Studios are still working out new deals with stars Vincent D'Onofrio, Chris Noth, Eric Bogosian, Julianne Nicholson and Kathryn Erbe.
Show just recently shifted its production home to the new NBC U Cable Studio, headed by USA/Sci Fi topper Bonnie Hammer.
Leight had been with "Criminal Intent" since the show's second season. A noted playwright, Leight won the Tony in 1999 for "Side Man." He also wrote and produced Sidney Lumet's A&E drama "100 Centre Street."
USA still has original episodes from "Criminal Intent's" seventh season in the can and set to air beginning next Sunday at 9 p.m. Show will lead into the cabler's new drama, "In Plain Sight."
As for "In Treatment," show scored buzz but low viewership in its first go-round on the pay cabler. HBO is still mulling a second-season pickup for the show; Leight's arrival would seem to make a renewal more likely.
"In Treatment" -- adapted from an Israeli series -- was headed up by showrunner Rodrigo Garcia in season one. Garcia was exec producer along with Stephen Levinson, Hagai Levi and Mark Wahlberg.
In a brief statement, NBC U and Wolf Films said Leight "did a terrific job on 'Criminal Intent'" and wished him luck. The network and producers are said to be close to naming a replacement.
Leight (Side Man) and Arima (The Tin Pan Alley Rag, Altar Boyz and London's Ragtime) have acquired the rights to the 1959 book and have assembled the creative team. Work has only just begun.
Leight and Almond first worked together in 2003 when Almond acted in a production of Leight's post-World War II play, James and Annie. Berkeley Rep will be premiering Almond's musical, Girlfriend, in spring 2010. Leight, whose Side Man won the Tony Award as Best Play, is a writer-producer of HBO's award-winning series "In Treatment."
"A Separate Peace" is set in the early 1940s at an East Coast American prep school called Devon, where introverted, bookish student Gene bonds with outgoing, athletic Finny, leading to a tragic end. The book has been adapted for films twice (a 1972 feature and a 2004 TV movie) and appears on American high school reading lists. The story, told in flashback from an older Gene's perspective, is concerned with darker aspects of the human experience: envy, violence, competition.
Novelist Knowles, born in 1926, attended high school at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, a school not unlike Devon.
Canadian-born director Arima, now a busy New York City-based director, came across the novel in 2007. He'd never read it before, but he saw the possibility of a musical. He made a phone call to his agent to discuss the possibility of getting the rights and snagging Leight as librettist. Arima said he was an admirer of Leight's Side Man, a memory play about a broken family.
Of "A Separate Peace," Arima told Playbill.com, "I was drawn into the psychology and complexity of friendships - admiration and love that can turn into competitiveness, jealousy and rage. And how does forgiveness play a part in that relationship? In true friendships, all can be forgiven - this is what inspired me about 'A Separate Peace.'"
THR: Are there any specific lessons you can take away from your experience with FX and Lights Out vs. Law & Order: Criminal Intent on the broadcast side?
Leight: Criminal Intent is a pure detective procedural. But the pleasures and dangers of serialized drama were great. To sustain characters and have story unfold that way -- to put in Episode 2 or 3 have Lights mail a letter and we don't know who it's to and then to find out in Episode 12 that it was to his mother and have the audience pick up that stuff is great. It was like novel writing as opposed to short story writing; both are good forms. Short stories you can sit down and read in one sitting and in a way that's what episodes of Law & Order are: you can watch them any time of the day or night in any country in the world and you don't need to know what came before or what came after. From a pure business point of view, it has a much better chance. I would love to do another serialized drama at some point.
THR: What's next for you? Leight: I have ideas for series but I don't have a clear path to a new series immediately. I'm listening to possibilities about taking over existing shows. Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Share to Google Buzz
Post by skittles4me on Apr 10, 2011 16:00:22 GMT -5
LOL... Maybe it's a bit arrogant to argue with a statement WL made about his own show, but I don't see LOCI as a pure detective procedural! When "Frame" originally aired, my husband watched it with me without having seen the preceding shows. I had to explain Goren's family history with Frank and his mom, Mark Ford Brady's background, Nicole Wallace as "the white whale", how Gwen fit into the picture and why she was sick, who Declan Gage was, Eames' history with Declan and Jo Gage, why Eames might have PTSD or be angry with Goren...
I guess you could watch LOCI as separate, individual episodes, but it sure helps to know what went on before!
Post by skittles4me on Apr 10, 2011 20:05:01 GMT -5
That's true! LOL Funny that I remember this, but his brother, who IS a LOCI fan, was visiting us that weekend from out of town. My brother-in-law and I always talked about the show and we both wanted to watch "Frame". My hubby just joined in because he didn't want to be left out! ;D
However, Angua, you support my point! WL said that you could just pick any episode to watch and wouldn't need any background information. The fact that we feel there is an episode that isn't a good one for a "newbie" contradicts what Warren Leight said about LOCI being "pure procedural"!