THE BRIDGE: CBS building The Bridge with CTV

CBS building The Bridge with CTV
By: Etan Vlessing
Date: February 19, 2009
Source: Playback


The Bridge has been picked up by CBS.

The Tiffany network this week signed a coproduction deal with CTV to co-finance and air 11 one-hours of the procedural drama, created by career cop Craig Bromell, which will start production in Toronto this May.

“This is special. I’m extremely privileged to be so surrounded by so many talented people that got us to this point,” said Bromell, formerly a combative police union boss, on news of the deal for the drama from E1 Television, 990 Multi Media Entertainment and Jonsworth Productions.

CTV’s Ivan Fecan and Susanne Boyce — who fielded Bromell’s original pitch in 2005, putting it in development with Barna-Alper Productions as a two-hour MOW/back-door pilot — this past December pitched the cop drama to CBS executives in Los Angeles after the success of their first collaboration, Flashpoint.

CBS’ Nancy Tellem and Nina Tassler, their interest stirred by the pitch and The Bridge pilot, two weeks ago brought Bromell and writing partner Alan Di Fiore (Da Vinci’s Inquest) to L.A. for their own grilling.

“It was the Mount Everest of interviews. You don’t get any higher than that,” Bromell recalls.

After a whirlwind of meetings, e-mails and calls between CBS and CTV, the partnership was unveiled on Thursday, the latest sign that the appetite for Canadian dramas at the U.S. network continues to grow.

“Like Flashpoint, we see The Bridge as a series that works creatively and financially for both our network and studio — and importantly, for CBS Television viewers,” said Tellem, president of the CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group.

As if Boyce, president of creative, content and channels at CTV, needs more drama.

“You just finish and here we go again,” Boyce sighs happily. Her development efforts at CTV have in recent years spawned Flashpoint, The Listener for NBC and Fox International, and So You Think You Can Dance Canada.

The cop and cons drama, set in Toronto, has been no less a locomotive for Bromell. In January 2008, CTV suggested Di Fiore could help the former cop hone the scripts about his 26 years in the police force.

The two clicked, with Bromell pouring out ideas and Di Fiore turning them into storylines. John Fawcett (The Border) was then brought on to direct the MOW, and Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica) was cast in the lead as the cops’ union boss who battles police brass and know-nothing politicians in Toronto’s corridors of power.

The MOW/pilot was shot in Toronto in summer 2008, and delivered to CTV last September, along with the series bible. By November, CTV ordered The Bridge to series.