NBC recruits cult drama

The Hollywood Reporter/December 19, 2005
By Kimberly Speight

NBC has given a script commitment to a one-hour drama centering on an expert in "deprogramming" people.

The tentatively titled "The Bogeyman," from NBC Universal Television Studio, will center on a deprogrammer -- someone who works to help people who have been brainwashed.

Rick Ross, who works as a deprogrammer, is on board as a consultant. Ross, who has been in this line of work since 1982, said he has assisted thousands of families in his efforts to help the victims of brainwashing, which he points out includes such people as victims of cults posing as religious organizations, members of terrorist organizations and women abused by their husbands ["Battered Woman's Syndrome"].

"For the first time, the world of cults and deprogramming and the plight of families victimized by cults and brainwashing along with the vulnerability of the human [mind] will be on view in a way it's never been before," Ross said. "The audience will have the opportunity to come into that world and experience it firsthand."

Tony Krantz and Erik Jendresen are executive producing, and Jendresen is writing the script. Krantz's company, Flame Television, is producing. Michael Dietz and Richard Friedman are co-exec producers on the project.

Krantz called the project "high-concept, edgy, risky, lightning-in-a-bottle kind of television." He and Jendresen added that faith, religion and belief systems also will be a big part of the project.

"This has incredible relevance in a world where religion is such an important part of our lives," Krantz said.

Jendresen added that it will "have guts."

"We're staring this stuff right in the face and going to deal with very real organizations and groups," he said. "We're not shying away from any of this."

Krantz has executive produced such series as Fox's "24," WB Network's "Felicity" and UPN's upcoming "South Beach," while Jendresen was supervising producer and writer on HBO's "Band of Brothers."

Ross is repped by Rebel Entertainment Partners, and Krantz and Jendresen are repped by Endeavor.

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