The breakthrough season for broadcast networks’ in-house production arms selling to rival nets continues with another green light for such a project. CBS has given a pilot order to untitled drama project from Bates Motel writer Nikki Toscano and the A&E/Universal TV series’ executive producer Kerry Ehrin. It hails from Universal TV, which will now co-produce with CBS TV Studios. This marks the 11th (!) pilot or series order this season by ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox to a project from an in-house production division of another network (excluding Fox sibling 20th TV, which has established itself as a major studio selling to everyone.) That is up dramatically from last season’s 3 such pilot orders, two of which — Fox/Uni TV comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine and CBS/ABC Studios drama Intelligence – went to series. This season, after ABC Studios and CBS Studios made a strategic move in that area, ABC Studios has landed 5 outside broadcast orders, Universal TV 4 and CBS TV Studios 2.
Written/executive produced by Toscano with Ehrin supervising the script and consulting on the pilot, the CBS drama centers on a retired CIA operative who, when a terrorist event rocks Washington, D.C., is pulled back into action, forced to investigate closer to home where the next generation of terrorists are being bred. The serialized thriller is reminiscent of this season’s Hostages, which didn’t get traction but CBS appears determined to crack the genre. UPDATE: It appears that the Nick Toscano project is not as heavily serialized and is more in the vein of NBC’s The Blacklist, with “terrorist of the week” procedural elements and overarching mysteries.