CBS has put in development Never Tell, a drama based on the book of the same title by Selena Montgomery nom de plume for Stacey Abrams, from writer Talicia Raggs NCIS: New Orleans Abrams and Nina Tassler and Denise Di Novi’s Pat Ma Productions, in which CBS has an ownership stake and PatMa has a first-look deal. Abrams is attached as an executive producer. CBS TV Studios is the studio.
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Written by Raggs, Never Tell, based on the book, revolves around a star linguistics professor with a complicated past who joins forces with a charismatic online investigative journalist following the discovery of a cryptic message that is the only clue in a missing persons case, setting them off on a partnership working cases with the New Orleans Police Department.
Raggs executive produces with Tassler and Di Novi for PatMa and Abrams.
Raggs has worked on NCIS: New Orleans since Season 4, currently serving as co-executive producer. Her other writing-producing credits include The Originals, Switched At Birth and Ironside. She’s repped by Verve, Sheree Guitar, and Hansen Jacobsen.
Abrams is the former Georgia House Minority leader, the first African American to lead in the House of Representatives, and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate. In addition to Never Tell, Abrams under the pen name Selena Montgomery is the author of romance suspense novels Hidden Sins, Secrets and Lies, Reckless and Deception. She won both the Reviewer’s Choice Award and the Reader’s Favorite Award from Romance In Color for Best New Author, and was featured as a Rising Star. Abrams is also the author of Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change, published by Henry Holt & Co. in April 2018, and she has published articles on public policy, taxation and nonprofit organizations.
Tassler and Di Novi, who had previously worked together on CBS drama The District, set up PatMa at in 2018 with a focus on amplifying diverse voices. The company also is adapting Joyce Carol Oates' abortion novel A Book of American Martyrs for Showtime.
CBS is launching a month-long sequence of Sunday movie nights in May, featuring five contemporary classic movies to keep viewers entertained while they stay indoors. The network announced that the weekly programing event will kick off on May 3 and will feature two “Indiana Jones” films, “Forrest Gump,” the first “Mission: Impossible,” and “Titanic.” The titles all hail from Paramount Pictures' library, which is also part of the ViacomCBS family.
“It's a five-week programming event with epic films, iconic stars and brilliant stories that viewers love...and love to watch together,” Noriko Kelley, an executive vice president at CBS Entertainment, said in a statement.
As for newer projects, CBS made headlines yesterday when the company announced that it would air a special pandemic episode of “All Rise.” The Simone Missick-led legal drama's upcoming episode will be shot using various social media platforms and online technologies and the production will abide by social distancing guidelines.
ViacomCBS is one of numerous entertainment companies that have been broadly impacted by current events and are starting to experiment with different forms and schedules for their offerings. The company has halted production on shows ranging from “The Amazing Race” to “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful,” and other companies and studios have followed suit for their own projects. CBS' May film programming will replace the original episodes of “Love Island” that were scheduled for May 24 and May 31; the status of the reality series is up in the air to the ongoing pandemic.
CBS previously ran a “CBS Sunday Movie” franchise that ended in the 2004-2005 television season.
IndieWire is keeping track of all film and television industry-related events and projects that have been impacted by the pandemic. IndieWire is also documenting all of the positive news to come out of the outbreak and also has a list of resources available to entertainment industry workers in need of aid.
The schedule for CBS' upcoming May Sunday movie night programming is as follows:
May 3: “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 10: “Forrest Gump” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 17: “Mission: Impossible” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 24: “Titanic” 7-11 p.m., ET/PT
May 31: “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” 8-11 p.m., ET/PT