After a disastrous 2014-15 season that ended in every drama outside of The Mysteries of Laura getting the ax, NBC execs are crossing their fingers that drama pilots The Player and Game of Silence will have better luck. Both have been ordered to series, joining previously greenlit Blindspot, Chicago Med and Heartbreaker.
Fast-paced thriller The Player, formerly known as Endgame, will focus on a military-sniper-turned-security-expert (Philip Winchester, of Cinemax’s Strike Back), who is drawn into a dangerous conspiracy on the mean streets of Las Vegas. Told he must complete a series of seemingly impossible tasks in order to save the lives of innocent civilians, the man struggles to survive and unmask his new puppetmasters. Wesley Snipes also stars in the series, which was always thought to be a no-brainer for NBC given Winchester’s leading man clout and the intriguing setup.
Additionally, NBC is banking big on Game of Silence, a dark drama that has drawn comparisons to cable fare like Damages and Bloodline. It centers on an attorney (David Lyons) on the cusp of big-time success, whose hard work could come crashing down around him when childhood friends reappear. Teaming up with his old friends, who he hasn’t seen in over two decades, the attorney battles to keep a dark secret from their past hidden.
The keyword here is ambition. After a season that saw limited series The Slap disappoint and touted procedurals like State of Affairs go belly-up, NBC execs are clearly pushing to get more fast-paced, event series on the air. The Player sounds like the kind of pedal-to-the-metal actioner that would be more at home on Cinemax, while Game of Silence, based on that early description, feels like a cable drama cut out for AMC or FX, and that’s exactly the point. NBC has become synonymous with predictable, rote fare over the years, and it’s pushing to change that with as many far-reaching shows as possible. The question is, will audiences bite?