Variety reports that former LAW & ORDER producer Michael Chernuchin has struck an unusual pilot deal at ABC. Not only has he landed a script order for “Expert Witness,” but a publishing contract, too.
“Expert Witness” is a sort of legal “CSI” that revolves around Roger Cleary, a thirtysomething coroner-turned-professional freelance forensic witness who works for both prosecution and defense cases. Cleary’s dad is in jail for killing his mom, and that crime inspires his career.
Interestingly, even before ABC decides whether to greenlightgreenlight the project to pilot, Chernuchin has already sealed a deal with book packager Alloy to write a series of novels based on the lead character in “Expert Witness.” Indeed, the book deal predated the ABC pactpact.
“We sold the project to TV faster than we thought,” he quipped.
This may be the first time where the “TV tie-in” novel was sold before the TV series. Chernuchin is also adapting the hit BBC series “Judge Deed” for NBC.
“Deed” focuses on a federal court justice in Washington, D.C., who is “totally moral in the courtroom by not so moral on the outside,” Chernuchin said.
“We’ve seen legal stories through almost everyone’s point of view but the judge’s,” he said. “When you see a judge on TV they’re usually just saying ‘sustained’ and ‘overruled.’ This gives me a whole different way to think about cases.”
I guess he doesn’t watch JUDGING AMY, either. And he missed THE COURT, FIRST MONDAY, and QUEENS SUPREME… just like most of America.