Bruckheimer TV is set to tackle the airwaves again with a currently untitled show revolving around Navy SEALs – both the dangerous missions they undertake and lives they lead when not on duty. Rand Ravich (The Astronaut's Wife, Life) will head up the series.
There is little known about the currently untitled show other than Ravich will write the script, and ABC has committed to a pilot – practically guaranteeing the show a shot at a series.
For those who recall Ravich's last program (the Damian Lewis procedural Life), the infusion of philosophy and psychology played a large role in the short-lived series. While it stands to reason that Ravich may utilize similar themes amongst the Navy SEALs, we will have to wait and see exactly what the writer has up his sleeve.
From the early descriptions of the show, there will certainly be comparisons made to the CBS series The Unit from David Mamet and executive produced by Shawn Ryan (The Shield, The Chicago Code). That series followed an elite unit featuring Dennis Haysbert (24), Scott Foley (Felicity) and Robert Patrick. The series vacillated between the various missions and the toll it often took on the lives of the men in the unit as well as their wives and girlfriends back home. It will be interesting to see how these two programs will differ from one another.
Of course there is also the question of the 1990 film Navy Seals – which also featured Haysbert alongside Charlie Sheen and Michael Biehn – but it’s unlikely that there is any connection beyond the use of the specialized military unit as the basis for the show.
Following the highly publicized killing of Osama Bin Laden, Navy SEALs have attracted a great deal of attention, so getting this program up and running is likely a priority for Bruckheimer TV and ABC.
For now, viewers interested in a military program can check out Cinemax's anti-terror series Strike Back and, to a lesser degree, Homeland from Showtime in October – which coincidentally stars Damian Lewis.
Bruckheimer TV has had a string of hits with procedural cop drams like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and its various long-running spin-offs CSI: Miami and CSI: New York, as well as Without a Trace, Cold Case and The Amazing Race. With the exception of The Amazing Race, it could be argued that the formula by which all of those programs work has largely shaped the CBS approach to drama, and greatly attributed to their continued ratings success over the past decade.
With all of the aforementioned series having been, or are currently airing on CBS, landing this pilot at ABC will be a rare move for Bruckheimer TV - whose last program not on the Eye network was the recently cancelled Chase on NBC. It is also rare because ABC doesn't have nearly the amount of procedurals as CBS, so there is reason to wonder if this SEALs project is heavier on the dramatic side (i.e. personal lives of the SEALs), or if ABC is taking a new approach to a portion of their lineup, and attempting to skew more to a male demographic.
We will be sure to keep you posted as this Navy SEALs drama for ABC develops.