A Bourne TV spinoff series, titled Treadstone, will be one of four major pilots from the USA Network, designed to cement its place as the scripted cable king. It’s a major dramatic drive for the network that has also tapped some of its own homegrown talent in Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail for a new series, as well as a new dark comedy from Denis Leary.
Treadstone will delve deep into the mythology of the five existing Bourne movies, adapted from Robert Ludlum’s novels, which, of course, were headlined by Matt Damon, and, in a one-off, Jeremy Renner. However, don’t expect Damon’s Jason Bourne or even Renner’s Aaron Cross to appear, since this series will focus on a new group of agents in the eponymous CIA black ops program. Thus, it’s both a prequel and a spinoff, set in the present, also exploring the origin story of the program that famously produced Jason Bourne, explaining how the use of behavior modification turned him and others in the program into deadly weapons; sleeper agents that are “awakened” and activated to deliver death.
The Treadstone TV pilot will be placed into a pair of hands that’s familiar to genre fans in Heroes creator Tim Kring, who serves as writer and executive producer. Ramin Bahrani will also serve as an executive producer and direct the pilot. Captivate’s Ben Smith and Jeffrey Weiner, as well as Imperative Entertainment’s Justin Levy and Bradley Thomas are also onboard as executive producers.
The other three new USA Network pilots include:
Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail is cooking up another project for USA, this time a drama called Briarpatch, based on the novel of the same name by Ross Thomas. Here, Esmail works with Legion producer (and host of Mr. Robot aftershow Hacking Robot), Andy Greenwald, who serves as writer and executive producer. As the official synopsis explains:
The series follows Allegra Dill, a dogged investigator returning to her border-town Texas home after her sister is murdered by a car bomb. What begins as a search for a killer turns into a fight to bring the corrupt hometown Allegra thought she left behind to its knees. Andy Greenwald serves as writer and executive producer, with “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail also executive producing through his production company, Esmail Corp. Anonymous Content’s Chad Hamilton will also executive produce. Yann Demange will direct and serve as executive producer. The series is a co-production of Universal Cable Productions and Paramount Television.
Per the official synopsis:
Based on the novel of the same name by Megan Abbott, the series dives into the cutthroat world of competitive high school cheerleading in a small Midwestern town through the eyes of two best friends after a new coach arrives to bring their team to prominence. Abbott serves as writer and executive producer along with Gina Fattore. Peter Berg and Michael Lombardo will also executive produce via Film 44 along with Sarah Condon and Karen Rosenfelt. Universal Cable Productions will produce in association with Film 44.
Per the official synopsis:
Denis Leary co-created and will star in this dark comedy as Donal O’Neal, a dirty ex-cop who decides to do the right thing and bring down his complicit superior officers. But his best weapon in this battle, a photographic memory, is suddenly compromised by symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s. Donal must now race against time to repair the damage he’s done to his estranged family while trying to avoid being killed by his enemies. Alex Cary co-created along with Leary, with both serving as executive producers. Apostle Pictures’ Jim Serpico will also executive produce.
The USA Network, which brandishes WWE’s Monday Night Raw as a ratings centerpiece, along with prestige dramas like Mr. Robot, Colony, Queen of the South, Unsolved and Suits, is clearly looking to expand its dramatic presence in a big way with Treadstone, Briarpatch, Dare Me and Erase.
Interestingly enough, the network already has a show that adapts a big screen action movie with Shooter, which stars Ryan Phillippe as Bob Lee Swagger, the character played by Mark Wahlberg in the original 2007 film. Thus, it will also be interesting to see how Treadstone complements the ever-popular Bourne film series, which launched in 2002 with The Bourne Identity and, just in 2016, saw Matt Damon return from a 9-year hiatus to headline the latest film sequel, Jason Bourne, in which he co-starred with Tomb Raider‘s Alicia Vikander. Thus, the property should still be relatively fresh in the zeitgeist by the time Treadstone arrives.