|In what would be the first major series commitment for the 2000-2001 season, NBC is close to doing a deal for 13 segs of a new Studios USA drama from "Law & Order" mogul Dick Wolf.|
Skein would star feature thesp Oliver Platt ("Lake Placid"), who has inked a seven-figure deal with Studios USA to star in the hourlong show to be created and exec produced by Wolf.
Peacock has not finalized its deal with Studios USA, but industry insiders say just a few minor details need to be worked out before the pact can be announced. While still in early stages of development, skein will likely have Platt starring as a Gotham journo (think Jimmy Breslin) who investigates crime; it's targeted for the 2000-2001 season and will be shot on location in New York.
Series commitment from NBC means Wolf could have three skeins on the web next season, assuming "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" is picked up for a second year. Wolf, who's repped by UTA, is also just starting production on "D.C.," a midseason drama for the WB Network.
Platt, who starred opposite Warren Beatty in 1998's "Bulworth," has been hotly pursued by television producers for years, but had been unwilling to commit to the series grind. Indeed, he turned down David E. Kelley's offer to star as the lead in "The Practice," a part that was ultimately reworked for Dylan McDermott.
Calling the casting of Platt a "huge coup for Dick Wolf and the studio and NBC," Studios USA programming prexy David Kissinger was ecstatic Wednesday over Platt's casting.
"I really can't imagine an actor who has more to bring to a series than Oliver," he told Daily Variety, adding that the thesp, in his opinion, "has the potential to take his place against TV greats like Peter Falk and Angela Lansbury. That sounds like hyperbole, but I genuinely mean it."
Kissinger has been friends with Platt for many years and has tried before to get him to do television. He said the key to inking Platt this time was "the bait of association with Dick Wolf. That's a pretty compelling way to seduce a talent."
In addition to his current role in "Lake Placid," Platt's credits include parts in "Dr. Dolittle," "A Time to Kill," "Indecent Proposal," "Postcards From the Edge," "Working Girl" and "Flatliners." He'll next be seen opposite Neve Campbell in "Three To Tango" and with Liam Neeson and Sandra Bullock in "Gunshy." He recently wrapped filming on "Bicentennial Man," starring Robin Williams.
Wolf called Platt "one of the most important and impressive actors of his generation. His decision to finally enter the world of series television after a highly successful and diverse feature film career is arguably the single most important piece of episodic TV casting in the last five or six seasons."
Series is being produced by Wolf under the terms of his recently extended multiyear deal with Studios USA, brokered by UTA and attorney Cliff Gilbert-Lurie.
Platt's deal was brokered by Erwin Stoff of 3 Arts Management, attorney Barry Hirsch and the William Morris Agency.