Chernuchin’s Book & Pilot Deal

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.

7 thoughts on “Chernuchin’s Book & Pilot Deal”

  1. “When you see a judge on TV they’re usually just saying ‘sustained’ and ‘overruled.'”
    Let’s hope he has a good editor.

  2. I won’t criticize the guy for that…have you read my blog entries and DL posts? They are rife with dumb errors and typos. My typing was bad before… but since the accident, it’s even worse. I have no excuse for my bad proofreading, however…

  3. have you read my blog entries and DL posts? They are rife with dumb errors and typos.
    Bring back Charlie (for more than a teensy little cameo) and all will be forgiven.
    And as for DL….like I said before, you should try 4MA. We’re allowed to have opinions there. Heck, we even list nominees for the Buzzhoff Award for bad writing when we come across them in our reading, something which I’m sure wouldn’t fly on DL since anything the slightest bit negative seems not to be tolerated there.

  4. 4MA (the MA being Mystery Addicts) is a mystery discussion group on yahoo. It’s high volume, and all aspects of books – the good, the bad, and the ugly – are fair game. In addition to the general chat (what we’re reading now, book events, etc), there are three focused book discussions each month. If you run into Mark Billingham at Bouchercon, you can ask him about it. He’s not only a member of the list, he survived one of his books being a monthly read. In my admittedly biased opinion, it’s the best list of its kind. The basic difference between 4MA and DL is that the people on 4MA are there to actually talk about books, not to suck up to authors by drooling about their books. (uh-oh, hope I didn’t discourage you right there. :)) Although the authors on the list do let us know when they’ve got books on the way, there is not the kind of excessive BSP that has made DL something of a joke in many circles.
    By the way, the reason I specifically mentioned Mark Billingham as a source of info about the list: his book got a decidedly mixed reaction when it was discussed, but he evidently found enough value in the discussion that when one of Laura Lippman’s books was a monthly read, he recommended to her that she join the list to sit in on it.


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