If you’ve been missing your weekly fix of Rainn Wilson ever since the conclusion of NBC’s immensely popular The Office last May, Fox has got you covered. The network just picked up thirteen episodes of Backstrom, a one-hour drama from Bones creator Hart Hanson and 20th Century Fox TV, which will star Wilson as the offensive, hot-tempered Det. Everett Backstrom, whose increasingly self-destructive decisions begin to interfere with his career as he leads the Serious Crimes Unit through Portland’s most sensitive cases.
Backstrom may be a drastic departure from the egomaniacal wackiness of Wilson’s Office character Dwight Schrute, but Fox is optimistic that audiences will connect with the character. Kevin Reilly, Fox Chairman of Entertainment, said the following in a statement:
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. 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.
In a joint statement, 20th TV chairmen Dana Walden and Gary Newman added that:
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.
The series sparked a bidding war back in 2011 when the Leif G.W. Persson-penned book series of the same name was first shopped around. Fox originally committed to ordering a pilot for the 2011-12 season (to be adapted by Stephen Gaghan) but eventually opted not to go to pilot. In July of 2012, Backstrom became a hot commodity once again when Hanson joined as a writer and showrunner. CBS snatched it up and ordered a pilot, though the series was not picked up for the 2013-14 season after a lengthy casting process that resulted in Wilson coming aboard. 20th Century TV, optimistic about the series’ chances, extended the options on Backstrom‘s cast when it didn’t make the cut to series on CBS last May. CBS didn’t release Backstrom until its option expired on December 15, at which point Hanson and 20th Century TV entered negotiations with Fox.
The series co-stars Kristoffer Polaha, Dennis Haysbert, Page Kennedy and Beatrice Rosen. Hanson will executive-produce alongside Persson and Niclas Salomonsson, while Wilson and Josh Levy will produce.
What are your initial thoughts about Backstrom? Do you think that you will be able to buy Wilson as a dark, troubled detective? Sound off in the comments section!
Backstrom will enter production soon, for a likely premiere in the fall 2014-15 season.