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News broke this week that CBS has given a series commitment to a project based around popular character Clarice Starling, famous for her turn in Silence of the Lambs. The new CBS drama will be a period drama and a sequel to Silence of the Lambs.
The upcoming series Clarice will pick up in 1993. For those familiar with the Silence of the Lambs timeline, this will be a year after Clarice Starling spent time with Hannibal Lecter, picking his brain in the hopes of catching another killer. She’ll be returning to the field and an announcement from CBS mentions that she will be in D.C. and in the field trying to take down possible “serial murderers and sexual predators.”
Hannibal Lecter isn’t mentioned (which makes sense, given that with Hannibal on NBC we learned there were complicated rights issues to the characters) and casting has yet to be undergone at this point. However, we do know that Alex Kurtzmann, the TV producer and writer behind CBS All Access’ Star Trek Universe (including the upcoming Picard), along with other programs like Scorpion, Sleepy Hollow, and Limitless, will also be producing and writing Clarice. Kurtzman also notoriously helmed the failed The Mummy reboot and has said that experience was “painful;" now he's back on TV and also prepping a CBS All Access series called The Man Who Fell To Earth.
Also on board is Jenny Lumet, who previously wrote Rachel Getting Married and will be on board to write and produce Clarice. Finally, Heather Kadin will executive produce the series and Aaron Baiers will co-executive produce. MGM and CBS Television will work together to make Clarice a reality on the small screen.
There’s no word on exactly when Clarice will premiere on CBS, but given it’s already midseason in the TV cycle right now, I wouldn’t expect it until the next TV cycle. Regardless, reboots, remakes and sequels have been popular on both the big and small screen recently, so I'm not shocked we are hearing about this pickup now.
I do think it’s worth pointing out that Hannibal – another take on the character from Silence of the Lambs which ran on NBC -- had a loyal following in a later timeslot in the TV schedule, running in spring and during the summer for much of its run. Genre TV has traditionally done well in the summer in the past, and it wouldn’t surprise me if this one ultimately got scheduled at midseason or even for the summer schedule.
Granted, it also will be a killer and crime-oriented program, and a lot of those do well during the regular run of the TV season, which kicks off in the fall. In particular, I'm guessing CBS is looking for something a little dark and gritty to replace Criminal Minds, as that show will be ending on the network next month. Clarice will be based on a known character and I would assume would be a dark TV series in a similar vein to C-Minds (although perhaps not as much of an ensemble feature) and could be a good fit in the same sort of slot as that program in the fall schedule.