ABC is currently in development on two new series from Sam Esmail, the man behind USA’s Golden Globe-winning conspiracy drama Mr. Robot, Variety reports. The shows fall under the umbrella of Esmail’s overall deal with NBCUniversal’s television production company Universal Content Productions, which he renewed early on in 2019, as reported by Variety.
The first of the two shows is the procedural Acts of Crime, which Esmail has plans to write and direct himself, according to Variety. Esmail has expressed his thoughts on the hour-long procedural structure several times in the past, usually in reference to an alleged perception of it as a relic of an older time. In an interview with CNN Money, Esmail spoke about how having a show on cable gave him the unique opportunity to execute his concept for a serialized show in as specific terms as possible: “I don’t think the broadcast networks would have wanted [Mr. Robot] the way it is… They would have tried to turn it into a procedural type of show that could go on longer in a season.”
No. After being rejected by every network and streamer, not only did USA step up in a big way to take a chance on me and this script, they never once asked me to water down or compromise my vision. https://t.co/slWg4xSWfa
— Sam Esmail (@samesmail) July 3, 2020
When Rolling Stone interviewed Esmail about some of his favorite television shows, he discussed how he admired Breaking Bad for refusing to go the procedural route: “Even the serialized shows tend to sort of be seasonally procedural. There’s essentially a reboot, there would be a new mission. Breaking Bad didn’t even do that. They told this singular story from beginning to end in five seasons. I thought it was pretty revolutionary.”
Esmail’s second show has already secured a commitment from ABC to air a pilot, according to Variety. The only detail known thus far is that it is a drama whose subjects are related to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Variety reports.
Universal Content Productions is behind another Esmail creation in the works, The Resort, as reported by Deadline. The show is developed in collaboration with Andy Siara, the screenwriter behind Hulu’s indie rom-com Palm Springs. Siara is also a credited writer on Esmail’s upcoming Peacock period drama Angelyne. The first season of The Resort will be a darkly comedic romantic mystery set in Riviera Maya, a tourist destination on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, according to Variety.