A couple of The Office alums have new shows potentially on tap for the 2014-15 TV season. Last fall, CBS passed on the hourlong procedural Backstrom starring Rainn Wilson, but the project has now been granted new life at Fox. The network has ordered 13 episodes of the crime drama, which is based on author Leif G.W. Persson’s book series of the same name. Created by Bones mastermind Hart Hanson, Backstrom stars Rainn Wilson as “an offensive, irascible detective” who tries to change his self-destructive behavior to no avail. Backstrom leads Portland’s Serious Crimes Unit, which is where the procedural element comes in.
Hit the jump for the full press release and news concerning a new NBC series starring Craig Robinson.
Additionally, THR reports that NBC has ordered six episodes of Mr. Robinson, starring Craig Robinson. The single-camera comedy revolves around a musician who gets a job as a middle school teacher and subsequently begins teaching the children everything from rock to the blues. The series was initially developed last year with The Office creator Greg Daniels onboard as a producer, but Daniels has since departed the project. In this new iteration, Mark Cullen and Robb Cullen (Back in the Game) have been set as showrunners with Robison also producing.
Robinson and Wilson aren’t the only The Office vets to have new shows on the horizon, as Tina Fey is executive producing a half-hour comedy starring Ellie Kemper that will also air on NBC. Read the full press release concerning Backstrom below:
FOX CRACKS THE CASE
WITH HART HANSON’S NEW CRIME DRAMA
Emmy Award Nominee Rainn Wilson to Star and Produce;
Based on Books by Renowned Criminologist and Novelist Leif G.W. Persson
Fox Broadcasting Company (FOX) has given a 13-episode series order to BACKSTROM, a one-hour drama from 20th Century Fox Television, based on renowned Swedish criminologist and novelist Leif G.W. Persson’s hit series of books of the same name. Created and executive-produced by Hart Hanson (BONES, “The Finder”), the series centers on Detective EVERETT BACKSTROM (three-time Emmy Award nominee Rainn Wilson, “The Office”), an offensive, irascible detective, as he tries, and fails, to change his self-destructive behavior. Throughout the series, Backstrom leads his team, the Serious Crimes Unit, as they navigate Portland’s most sensitive cases.
“Hart Hanson and Rainn Wilson are the perfect combination of creative vision and on-screen talent to bring this one-of-a-kind character and story like BACKSTROM to FOX,” said Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. “I’ve been in business with Hart for a long time, and not only does he have a rare gift for infusing darker themes with relatable humor, he’s one of the best showrunners out there today. Together with Rainn – who absolutely nails this role and makes it a classic FOX character – I think we’ve got something really special here.”
“There are so few creators out there with the genuine ability to mix great procedural storytelling with humor, and Hart Hanson is one of those guys. Getting another show on the air with him has been a top priority of this company,” commented Twentieth Century Fox Television Chairmen and CEOs Gary Newman and Dana Walden. “And getting the amazing Rainn Wilson in the title role was quite simply a coup. His ‘Backstrom’ fits perfectly into FOX’s long history of dramas centered around a bigger-than-life iconic character.”
“Naturally, all of us who worked on BACKSTROM thought it was too promising a series to die unseen and Dana and Gary were relentless in their support of the project,” added Hanson. “Imagine our delight to find that Kevin Reilly and his team at FOX agreed enough to pick it up and give us a good home. Thanks FOX!”
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to get a chance to dig into Detective Everett Backstrom. For an actor it’s rare to get a crack at a role of such intelligence, humor and complexity. He’s a delightfully disheveled misanthrope with a twisted, brilliant mind and a heart of barbed wire. Truly the role of a lifetime,” noted Wilson. “Hart Hanson is an incredible writer and showrunner and I couldn’t be more excited to collaborate with him. Last but not least, FOX is the PERFECT home for this fun and disturbed piece of entertainment. They are passionate about the show and I’m ecstatic to be working with Kevin Reilly again (he launched “The Office” on NBC and fought tooth-and-nail for us to stay on the air, let’s not forget) and to be on the same network as my frenemy, Mindy Kaling.”
Hanson serves as executive producer on the series with Persson and Niclas Salomonsson. Emmy Award-nominated director Mark Mylod (“Entourage,” “Shameless,” “Ali G Indahouse”) served as director and executive producer on the pilot. Production is scheduled to begin in early 2014.
In the pilot episode, after the apparent suicide of a Senator’s son is ruled a homicide, the Portland Police Bureau’s Serious Crime Unit, led by Detective Backstrom (Wilson) must solve the case. Following the team’s arrival on the scene, forensics expert Sergeant PETER NIEDERMAYER (Kristoffer Polaha, “Ringer,” “Life Unexpected”) verifies that the death was indeed a homicide. This starts the trail for Backstrom and his team: Detective NICOLE GRAVELY, Detective Sergeant JOHN ALMOND (Dennis Haysbert, “The Unit,” “24”), uniformed officer FRANK MOTO (Page Kennedy, “Weeds,” S.W.A.T.”) and the tech-savvy NADIA PAQUET (Beatrice Rosen, “The Dark Knight,” “Cuts”). Together, they must follow leads, while trying to maintain a low profile in this highly scrutinized case.
Persson’s book series “Backstrom” is popular in Scandinavia, where his work has sold more than six million copies. The character has appeared in two novels so far, “Linda” and “He Who Kills The Dragon.”
BACKSTROM is produced by 20th Century Fox Television. The series is created, written and executive-produced by Hart Hanson. Leif G.W. Persson and Niclas Salomonsson serve as executive producers. Rainn Wilson and Josh Levy serve as producers. Mark Mylod directed and served as an executive producer on the pilot.