CBS Orders Modern ‘Sherlock Holmes’ Pilot (In Spite of BBC’s ‘Sherlock’)

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:27 pm,

Update: ‘Sherlock’ Producer Warns CBS: We Will Protect Our Series (Legally)

CBS is looking to bring even more Sherlock Homes to the entertainment industry by announcing today that they have ordered pilot for Elementary, a modern-day take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s iconic Sherlock Holmes cases by former Medium producer and writer, Robert Doherty.

This series, which will also have A Gifted Man and Unforgettable executive producers Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly serving as producers, would mark the second Sherlock Holmes-based series currently on television.

In 2010, the BBC and PBS premiered Sherlock, which, similar to CBS’ Elementary, is a modern-day telling of the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and his chronicler Dr. Watson. The show stars Benedict Cumberbatch (Star Trek 2) and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit), respectively.

Created by Doctor Who executive producer Stephen Moffat and The League of Gentleman star Mark Gatiss, Sherlock just completed its second season in the UK and went on to win a BAFTA for Best Drama Series, Best Editing and Best Support Actor for Freeman.

Despite the increased demand for both Cumberbatch and Freeman in Hollywood, both actors are expected to return for a third season of Sherlock in 2013.

With CBS ordering a pilot that’s thematically similar to Sherlock, one has to question what exactly CBS’ intentions are for their potential new series – and whether or not the world of entertainment already has its fill of Holmes-based projects.

bbc sherlock watson CBS Orders Modern Sherlock Holmes Pilot (In Spite of BBCs Sherlock)

On top of the possibility that television will have two Sherlock Holmes series, there are always the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes films with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law waiting on cable – not to mention, Sherlock Holmes 3 expected in theaters in late 2013.

While there certainly is the potential for an oversaturation of Sherlock Homes, it appears that CBS may not only be trying to benefit from the financial success of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, but also benefit from the critical acclaim and word of mouth that Sherlock is receiving.

Since Sherlock and Richie’s film versions only come around everyone other year, one could say that CBS has an entire year of Sherlock Holmes to themselves – which would either allow Elementary to differentiate itself… or to potentially ruin it for the other, more successful, iterations of Holmes, by leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

I suppose we’ll have to wait and see which one it is.


Expect to hear CBS’ decision on Elementary in May.  Sherlock season 2 also premieres May 2012 on PBS.

Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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  1. Egads! I think that’s plain rubbish!

    We’ll see how good or terrible it is, but by then I think I’ll be internet only for my entertainment. Roku and other devices look more enticing all the time.

  2. Does the world need more Sherlock? I mean, really? The Guy Ritchie films are fantastic. Let’s just keep them going…

    • Agreed

  3. This is terrible!!! The U.k Sherlock is terrific, we don’t need an American rip-off, i mean just look at how Skins turned out…

  4. While I love Sherlock Holmes, why do we need another series?? Sherlock on BBC is fantastic, although it is slightly disappointing that it is four months behind the UK (premiere wise). Lets just leave Cumberbatch and Freeman to continue with the modern day take.

    • thank you very much sir

    • Coincidentally, Andrew Scott’s performance is the one thing I don’t like about Sherlock.

      • Agreed. It’s that little bit that turns over-the-top campy goodness to badness. This character actor is trying too hard to be a character. And it’s painful to watch.

  5. More trendy garbage to cram down our throats

  6. Just watched the first two episodes of Sherlock and its awesome. Just keep them coming that’s all I need.

  7. Seems like most the people commenting on here have a negative view of this. I for one am looking forward to it. The title worries me though. I was hoping for a slightly darker take on the BBC Sherlock but the title somehow makes me doubt that. I think people should remember the negative view of remaking the girl with the dragon tattoo in regards to this project. It might turn out to be superior to the BBC and the Ritchie versions.

    • I sincerely doubt it will ever be superior as American TV loves to have its long drawn-out series which will no doubt leave a whole bunch of fillers to put in the middle while characters are trying to develop. It won’t work and knowing the likes of the styles of CBS and American TV in general, it will only ruin what is so lovable about the original source material. There is already a modern Sherlock Holmes, I see no need to go make another and try to rip off someone else’s idea. It’s tacky and it’s silly.

      • I know America can do better on Moriarty than the BBC did!! The way they handled that character about ruined the show.

        • My father and I both disagree. The way BBC portrayed Moriarty was fantastic and utterly mystifying. Andrew Scott protrays Moriarty in such a way that the villain is modernized to near-perfection. Now, while I have only just started reading the original books and I can’t say how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle portrayed Moriarty; I CAN say that both my father and I were utterly captivated by Andrew Scott’s performance as James Moriarty. I have seen many movies and tv shows as has my father and we dare say that Andrew Scott as James Moriarty is one of the best villains we have ever seen.

          • Kayleigh ~ I wholeheartedly agree. While I think this Moriaty owes something to early Bond movies – access to re$ources, and a teeny-bit over the top – he is so far, a complete enigma.

            The original “Professor” Moriaty was a kind of godfather to England’s gangs and thieves. He’s protect them from the law, and they would give him a cut and their obedience in return – Fagin, with his boys all grown up.

            21st Century audiences may demand more of a villain than simple greed. We’ll see.

    • Wow… I cannot figure out what CBS is thinking here. Their competition from the BBC/PBS is one of the very best things on TV today. I don’t think I have seen any American series on the major networks come anywhere close to its quality in years. Why would they think that a sudden miracle will occur and they will suddenly produce something as good or better? The jaded side of me thinks that they really don’t care about that, and just hope to make a ton of cash quickly by riding the coattails of the BBC and the film franchises. And oh, by the way, we also already have an American modern take on Sherlock Holmes – House – and it’s actually good, but airs on FOX.

      I certainly hope PBS ramps up it’s marketing campaign – what a waste it would be to sit by and let CBS simply run over one of the very best shows out there because believe me, CBS will be selling their version like crazy if they decide to move it forward.

      • There’s also “Psych.”

    • You DO realize it is American TV and CBS we are talking about, right? I mean, /Sherlock/ is basicaly big screen worthy, if not more so than the movies. And London is a MAJOR character in the story. I mean why don’t they just come up with NYC’s own superhero and call it Batman?

  8. It won’t be as good as Sherlock, but I will still watch it. I don’t see why CBS has to do it though, they already have The Mentalist, which is my favorite show.

  9. Yet, again the American networks are trying to create a spin-off from a BBC show. As if taking “The Office” wasn’t bad enough.

    • … And yes, of course The Mentalist – 2 modern takes on Sherlock Holmes! Forgot this in my comment above.

  10. It will probably just be another bland procedural with the Sherlock name printed on it, to be honest. I mean, this is CBS we’re talking about. I would be cool with this of it were adapted to HBO or something, but not this. I’ll try to remain unbiased but I’m very skeptical.

  11. wow seriously america? this is why we can’t have nice things in this world. sherlock holmes without baker street…the canon would fall. it’s already modernized beautifully by bbc why the need to “modernize” it more at the same time americanize it?

    • They need britpick!

    • Whoa, hold on there. I’m American, and frankly, horrified at CBS. BBC Sherlock is amazing as is, and I’ll be one of the many who retch if, goodness forbid, CBS manages to air their attempt.

      Though, I agree with the others who say that PBS needs to step up their promotion a little bit, without other fandoms, I wouldn’t have been able to find this for a long, long time.

      • I was going to mention Life On Mars as another example of the US aping (badly) an English series.

    • I agree Melissa. Sherlock Holmes was created to live at 221B Baker Street in London, England. Plain and simple. You take Sherlock out of England and put him in America then…. honestly I won’t view it as Sherlock Holmes. They may give him the same name but Sherlock was English from the start and in my opinion, should remain so.
      Sherlock Holmes in America won’t be Sherlock Holmes, he’ll just be someone in America who happens to have the same name as an excellent English character. And BBC does mordernize it fantastically, CBS trying to do their own version is basically taking something already good and trying to make it better. If it’s already amazing, why mess with it and essentially change it entirely?

      On a side note, I’m American born and raised though honestly I really dislike the way my country does things. After I finish high school and a semester of community college here, I plan to apply to study abroad in London and honestly, I don’t plan on returning to America if I can’t help it. I want to move over there and live there, for educational reasons as well as personal.

      • Ummm, where did anyone get the idea that Holmes and Watson will not live in London in the CBS series? Did I miss something in the above article??? “Sherlock” is a fantastic, modernized telling of the Sherlock Holmes mythos; I very much love watching it. However, I see nothing wrong with having another version…as long as it IS another version (and as long as it stays true to the essence and tenets of the original stories). It can be done and end up being brilliant (after all, I’m sure before “Sherlock” actually premiered, some diehards exploded with horrified righteous indignation at how anyone could dare to MODERNIZE a series of tales which very much utilize the times in which they occur).

        Now, WILL it be done correctly by CBS? Well, THAT is an issue of a different sort…

  12. This is not going to end well. It’s obviously going to be a crappy rip off of the brilliant BBC version. They shouldn’t waste their time or money.

  13. What a very bad idea!
    Why replicate something that is already perfect in every way?
    Money of course.
    All well and good except for a few small problems repeated over and over again my the American networks:
    exceptionally poor storytelling
    hackneyed character development, please imagine the final scenes of the most recent Sherlock in the hands of an American network and not the BBC! Scary thought!
    Dreadful handling of interrelationship dynamics not to mention credible leaps in deduction, eg castle, where apparently random conversations inspire leaps in logic that solve crimes!

    Using this logic I deduce that networks who insult the majority of their would be audience by catering to the stupidest person are ill equipped to deliver something that is all about incredible intellect and fast pieced deduction

    • I dont think it is perfect in every way but if it were I think thats a good reason to replicate it. Everyone who keeps saying this is going to be horrible must have forgot about all the other shows that have been redone for an American audience and turned out great.

  14. No matter how good it is, I’ll never watch the “american” version of a great show. They’ll dumb down the deductions, and they’ll have watered down episodes with 24 episodes per season. We’ll have to wait longer for the BBC series from season to season but it’s definitely worth the wait. No thanks CBS

  15. We already had a US version of Sherlock called Monk.

  16. I don’t like the sound of this, but to be fair BBC’s Sherlock sounded like a terrible idea.

  17. Completely unnecessary IMO.
    The idea to make another Sherlock Holmes show wasn’t at all to do with the fans’ demands… this is purely to make more money.

    Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes movies are FANTASTIC IMO (and with the third one snagging an awesome writer, it’ll probably continue to be awesome) The BBC show, ‘Sherlock’, is doing very well and being embraced by fans all over the world – it’s a raging success (even though, personally, I’m not a fan…).
    There is no need for an American version (seeing as how many shows are based off of Conan Doyle’s work already.)

    IF this does go into production, I’ll watch the pilot, but I guarantee it’ll NEVER compare to what we already have on the big, and small screen.

  18. This has mediocrity written all over it. No way will CBS produce anything but a pale, half-hearted variation on the theme. But Sherlock is in the public domain & is hot once again, so off they go. Simple exploitation.

  19. no no no this looks like Garbage
    We already have one of the best Sherlock Holmes actors of all time in the BBC version, why would they even want to compete with that?

  20. Sherlock by BBC is the best show i have ever seen on tv. I can barely accept the Guy Ritchie’s version after seeing the tv show. How the hell does CBS plan to better than that. Why is everyone hell bent on ruining sherlock holmes to just make extra cash.

  21. BBC’s Sherlock is brilliant. There’s a reason they only do 3 in a series- because they’re clever and very involving. You will definitely lose that quality if a whole series is churned out. Also I think CBS will do it for the money and not because there is some original idea they have. It will suck

  22. Um, you guys do realize that Holmes gets redone again and again every few years for nearly 100 years? People thought Jeremy Brett was the final word on Holmes. Basil Rathebone before him. I’m sure we’ll all survive it even better than we do the obligatory Three Musketeers decennial remake since silent films began.

    • No doubt Jedi! Everyone just needs to chill and let America show you brits how its done!

        • I hope it is more sexy than the brits. Im sure if the brits were more sexy in general they wouls sex things up as well. We need a darker, faster, sexier Sherlock and a vastly better Moriarty than the brits are giving us with the BBC Sherlock.

        • I agree with you fully and I’m American myself.

          Although sadly, I honestly don’t think America is really capable of making original stuff anymore.

          Take Disney for example. They bring back old classics in 3D instead of thinking up new stuff because they can’t think of anything new. And they get away with it only because the newer generation of children have never seen the original non-3D versions because they’re too young.

          Just you wait, next thing you know the next Disney movie being brought back in 3D will be The Great Mouse Detective.

          Which as most know, is essentially Sherlock Holmes done in cartoon-y mouse form. (At least they had the sense to leave the mouse in London though.) I can’t say too much on the movie besides that thought because I haven’t seen The Great Mouse Detective in ages so I hardly remeber the film.

  23. excuse spelling…

  24. Completely F-cking stupid

    Sherlock is brilliant (though Baskerville was a bit of a letdown), very thoughtful and Cumber Khan is brilliant and could be a young Jeremy Brett (same voice)

  25. “Elementary” is a marginally better title for CBS than “$#*! My Sherlock Says” ;) yet I don’t see a need for this series. I liked the idea of the network’s potential pilot set in the 60s and showing the taming of Vegas more; sorry, can’t recall the title.