CBS pilot deal gives Donora native a major TV boost
There's never a shortage of travel arrangements for Sander/Moses Productions, and this year's itinerary will include Charleston, S.C.
That's because CBS has ordered a pilot of “Reckless,” a primetime soap opera executive produced by Donora native Kim Moses and her husband, Ian Sander, as part of its drama pilot orders for the 2013-14 season.
“We are eagerly looking forward to shooting in Charleston,” Moses said. “It is a thriving and exciting city, and the surrounding area is just beautiful. It is one of those placees that certainly gets your creative juices flowing, and our team is ready to go once the preparations and plans are finalized.”
“Reckless” is one of two dramas sold to CBS and ABC late last year by Sander/Moses, who produced the highly successful “Ghost Whisperer” for five years on CBS. “Ghost Whisperer,” which was the network's top Friday-night show, is in syndication in 167 countries around the world.
Sander described “Reckless” as a “taboo busting show,” where sex is the lynchpin between cops and lawyers.
It's set in sultry Charleston, where, the show's press materials say, “summer is long and secrets simmer behind every door and sex and crime walk hand in hand” as two adversaries, a Northern litigator and a Southern city attorney, struggle to hide their intense attraction for each other while clashing over a police sex scandal that threatens to implode the city.
“It has all ingredients for primetime drama that is connected to today's culture,” Sander said.
Sander and Moses are equally excited about “Reckless” because Catherine Hardwicke has signed on to direct the pilot.
“We're thrilled to have Catherine on board to helm this pilot,” Moses said. “‘Twilight,' directed by Catherine, has captured the hearts and wallets of millions while claiming the record for highest grossing movie by a female director of all time. It's in the Guiness Book of World Records.
“Her track record speaks volumes about the talents and experience she will bring to this project.”
Hardwicke, whose career spans nearly 30 years, became hot in Hollywood in 2008 when she directed the adaption of Stephenie Meyer's novel. Other features she has directed include “Red Riding Hood,” “Lords of Dogtown” and the upcoming “Plush.”
Sander said Dana Stevens is also an executive producer for “Reckless” alongside Sander/Moses. Stevens wrote the new Nicolas Sparks' (of “The Notebook” fame) thriller, “Safe Haven,” starring Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel, which hit the box office on Valentine's Day.
“Dana is a brilliant writer, and there's nothing we wanted more than for the network to greenlight us into production with Dana,” Sander said.
Meanwhile, Moses and Sander are developing four reality shows, two of which have ties to the area.
“The Big Hurt” features former Major League Baseball star Frank Thomas in his quest to balance life as a husband, father and entrepreneur while pitching his Big Hurt Beer brand, working as commentator for the Chicago White Sox broadcasting network and living with his wife and children in Las Vegas.
Big Hurt Beer was created in 2011 by Moses' brother, Jeff Moses, in partnership with Thomas. Jeff Moses, also a Donora native, is owner of Night That Never Ends productions, a festival promotions company in Monteray, Calif., and its parent firm, MBF Co., a distributor and importer/exporter and creator of beer, soda and wine throughout the world.
Another show, “Braddock,” also has roots in Western Pennsylvania. It tells the story of a once-bustling steel-making center that turned into a ghost town and is being reborn and rebuilt in the 21st century, Moses said.
“Anyone who remembers the heydays of the steel industry in the Mon Valley and other areas of Western Pennsylvania can relate to ‘Braddock,'” Moses said. “It's a story of survival and revival told throughout the region.”
Other unscripted shows being developed by Sander/Moses include:
• An American version of “Restaurant Behind Bars” (aka “Jailhouse Cook”), a popular reality show in Denmark. Moses and Sander, who acquired exclusive rights to develop and produce the U.S. show, will feature a top chef who establishes a fine-dining restaurant in one of America's toughest prisons and teaches inmates culinary skills they can use when they are released.
• “Sex, Murder and Caviar” has Debra Keane, described as the “caviar queen,” as the central character who, as CEO of California Caviar Co., leads her female staff against multiple challenges in their efforts to bring caviar to the masses. Sander and Moses have partnered with Clay Newbill, executive producer of “Shark Tank” (ABC) and “Red Neck Island” (CMT) for this show.
The production company relocated from Walt Disney Studios to The Lot, a historic site in Hollywood. Moses said she and her husband transitioned to independent status to “collaborate more freely with all studios, networks and cable outlets,” Sander said.
Sander/Moses, which is represented by United Talent Agency also owns SLAM, a digital content and distribution company on the Internet.
“Reckless” marks Sander and Moses' first pilot ordered into production in their first development season since they left longtime home ABC Studios last summer to set up shop as independent producers.
Sander/Moses has a powerful initiative in development with the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh that brings young girls ages 9 to 15 back to the table for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and then puts them on an education path that leads to careers in STEM areas.
“If the country is going to compete globally, it can only do with women moving aggressively ahead in STEM,” Moses said.
Moses has been a featured speaker at conferences focusing on women and leadership in the United States and abroad. She will enhance that role this month at the Harvard Business School's Dynamic Women In Business Leadership Conference on Feb. 23 in Cambridge, Mass. She also will extend her speaking engagements about her expertise in the total engagement experience — digital/intersecting with TV and features — at the MICOM conference in Cannes, France on April 7.
Ron Paglia is a freelance writer.