JJ Abrams Sparks Bidding War Over New Spy Show [UPDATE: NBC picks up show]

Today we have another item to file under projects JJ Abrams is working on besides the new Star Trek movie. News broke this morning that Abrams is returning to Alias territory, as a number of networks are in a bidding war to pick up a new spy series produced by Abrams. More details below. [UPDATE: NBC wins bid war]      


JJ spies again
News of the bidding war for Abrams return to the spy genre comes from the Hollywood trades Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, with the latter noting that NBC "seems to be winning." According to both, the show is based around two married spies (which sounds a bit like the 2005 Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith). Abrams has partnered with Felicity writer Josh Reims. This will be a return to the spy genre for Abrams, who created the ABC show Alias in 2001, which ran for 5 seasons. Abrams also co-wrote, and directed Mission: Impossible: III, and is now producing the upcoming Mission: Impossible: IV.

Promo shot from Alias – Abrams last spy show

UPDATE: NBC wins bid war
THR has an update reporting that NBC has officially closed a deal for Abrams’ new spy show. This will be Abrams first project at NBC, with previous shows at ABC, FOX and the CW (leaving CBS the only network to work with Abrams). 

JJ’s busy schedule
This new spy show is part of Abrams production deal with Warner Bros. Television. In 2006, Abrams’ Bad Robot production company signed multi-year production deals with WB to produce TV shows and Paramount to produce feature films. For Warner Bros, Abrams is currently producing the show Fringe, and last week sold a medical sitcom pilot to FOX. So far Abrams has produced and released two films for Paramount (Cloverfield and Star Trek), with a third in post-production (Morning Glory). He has an additional nine film projects at some stage of development (from optioned, to treatment to scripting), including the next Star Trek and Mission Impossible movies. Although that may seem like a lot, it is not uncommon in Hollywood. Steven Spielberg has his name attached to twice as many projects in development.

Harrison Ford & Rachel McAdams in June on location for "Morning Glory" – the next feature film produced by JJ Abrams (WireImage)


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First!? Is it just me or is Abrams taking on a lot, maybe even too much?


Nah, a lot of producers have a ton of stuff they work on. It’s just that this site heavily reports on Abrams and people related to Trek.

he needs to forget about all the crap like medical and spy shows and spend all of his time and effort on Trek and Dark tower films and finishing lost.

He is spreading himself too thin over projects which is putting me off him.

Not really. He’s a producer with strong team behind him he trusts. It’s not like he’s overseeing every single aspect of these projects. His name opens doors for those stories and concepts he’s signed off on.

As long as his style of work continues and doesn’t falter (and I haven’t seen anything yet to prove this) he can work on as many projects as he wants. Good for him that he’s doing so well.

Taking on too much? Perhaps, but I am sure Abrams, like many other production houses, have fully capable staffs to work on multiple projects.

I doubt this is an uncommon practice even in TREK circles.

Well it’s not Assignment: Earth that is the proposed spy show.

Why does that promo shot of ALIAS make it look like Ron Rifkin is the star? Weird.

I never saw the show ‘Alias,’ so I don’t even know who is who in that cast photo.

Spy shows, singing competitions, dance competitions, medical mysteries and crime dramas. Can’t Hollywood spit anything out original and interesting anymore?

For those that think JJ Abrams is taking on to much, they are not looking at whats happening through a mom rose colored lens. First JJ is the leading figure of Mad Robot Inc. And most of his work is not is not being the full director of producer, it’s the head of those posts.

He has valid people working for him and he is more of a fine tuner of a production than the one thats says to assemble the movie put tab A in slot B. He may say how big the tab or slot is and determian it’s shape. But he does seem to know how to fine tune and bring a shining polish to the finished product.

At one time he was the one that was doing the work and getting dirty but those talent have paid off for him, he is now king of the hill for Mad Robot Inc.

If only everyone had similar talents, and the FEDs where not there to aim you the way they desire there may not be a rescission (almost depression) today.

I hope those shining powers of JJ Abrams create one of the finest Star Trek movies ever in STM12(titled as of now Something Something).

As for the MI:4 movie time will tell as we the public learns more.

Star Trek TV show please. :D

Alias is awesome. I’m into the season 2 DVD’s now. Never saw it on-air, but it’s just as good now!

So when is he doing something original?

ok – which 3 people voted for Baird so far!?!?! ….Best Director!!!?, please say it was either a sympathy vote or Baird voting for himself a few times….


There’s no such thing as “original” anymore. All you can really do is try to breathe new life into an old idea, and Abrams is one of the BEST at doing that.

I think that it’s stupid to go trying to tell JJ what he can and can’t do. It is not our place to dictate terms to these people on what they do with there careers. I’m laughing at the poster that said that JJ has to (HAS TO) stick to startrek lost and dark tower. No he doesn’t. Does Spealburg have to stick to Ragging sharks, mad dinosaurs, and the haulocaust. No.

The man must work like a fiend, he’s got so much stuff going on….


it wouldn’t surprise me if it was the latter!

CBS own the rights to Trek on tv these days after the Viacom split a few years back and I doubt they would even consider farming out production of a new series outside the company. They wouldn’t even think about letting Enterprise continue with another network but I suppose thats more down to the fact of the suits at the time having a hard on for trying to destroy Trek. John Eaves has a few pics and a bit of background to when they tore down the sets and just destroyed nearly everything just out of spite on his blog, sad stuff.

However, if CBS could come to some arrangement with WB Productions/ Bad Robot that would be fantastic, can’t see it happening until at least the three picture deal that all are tied into with the new movies is completed though.

I believe the correct term in the industry is “Corporate Synergy” or some such so hopefully some of that takes hold. :D

I loved Alias! I was so mad when Jennifer Garner decided that she didn’t want to do it anymore. It was a fantastic, fun show

17. Strange, since Forever Young and Regarding Henry were pretty original, and pretty good. But it seems since he changed from Jeffrey to J.J., he has only created garbage.

You know who’s great in a spy-type adventure show?
Leonard Nimoy. MI was right after ST. I hear JJ’s heard of both of ’em.

I am so in. Everything he does is at least worth checking out. Alias was great (despite the fade at the end), as was Felicity, Cloverfield, Trek, et al.

Hollywood has always done the same thing. Every few years a couple of hotshots come along and monopolize the game. Guys like Bruckheimer and Abrams become big names and then produce far too many shows under their name. Why doesn’t Hollywood “spread the wealth” by allowing fresh new talent to each try a show? Why do a favoured few get to hog all the opportunities? No wonder all the shows look the same after a while…

JJ Abrams will not direct the sequel to “Star Trek XI.”
To date, he’s only directed three theatrical films, “Mission: Impossible: III”, “Star Trek: XI”, and the recently completed “Anatomy of Hope.” Sure, he’ll produce it, but someone else will direct.

Hopefully, it will be “someone who knows how to direct!”

BTW: As of this posting, NBC has ordered the above mentioned “spy pilot.”

Imagine if ten individuals, all with the same raw talent as Abrams (oh, they’re out there), were each given a production deal to produce a new and exciting original TV show?

Nah, that makes way too much sense!

#4 he needs to forget about all the crap like medical and spy shows and spend all of his time and effort on Trek and Dark tower films and finishing lost.

You can cross Lost off that list right away. He was a co-creator of the show but has had little to do with the show since the pilot, nothing since seaon 2, except for some story input into the season 3 premiere. He has nothing to do with the daily runnings of that show even though his name continues to be on it.

Probably the same with a lot of “his” other projects, to varying degress. That’s what being a producer sometmes means: getting the ball rolling, then stepping back while others do the heavy lifting.

I look forward to someone else directing the next movie, it survived before JJ and will survive without him. Trek is more than one man.

Trust me the franchise can survive with Mr JJ Abrams.

JJ is an excellent developer and encourager of talent, and knows what to delegate, and what to keep.

He’s proven this on multiple occasions.

I think that’s why he such a loyal group of colleagues including our frequent correspondent, Mr. Orci.

JJ never comes off as pretentious, he’s usually in blue jeans and GI glasses, and seems to be an armchair and ice tea kind of guy.

Sure, the franchise can survive without JJ. But where would it be if he hadn’t gotten the shot!?!

And #28, I think he still does heavy lifting if it’s needed, but he’s smart enough to find exactly the right person to do certain jobs.

Overall, I think that’s why we couldn’t stand Berman any more. His choices of Logan and Baird, etc., and his story “input” into Enterprise certainly did nothing for the franchise. Imagine if Coto had been given carte blanche immediately… Imagine if Ron Moore had been listened to when he went over to Voyager. Can you imagine how Voyager might have been fixed if they’d listened to him?

JJ seems to be completely different. I’m “very pleased”. :0)

“why he has” such a loyal group….

JJ Abrams is a lot like Steve Jobs of Apple, both geniuses in their respective fields. They both have the rare ability to know what will be popular next, what people will want to have or see. So instead of copying what is popular today (the typical strategy), they look for the next “big thing.” That is their most valuable talent; to anticipate what customers want, before they even know they want it.

They are both good at building a team of talented people and delegating the work, but they will not compromise (at least not easily) when it comes to their personal vision for a product or project,. Even from their level of “management,” attention-to-detail is very important; that’s something that many others at their level of success tend to ignore or leave to their subordinates.

So as a creator and producer, I think JJ Abrams can handle many projects at once. If he puts himself into the role of Movie Director, I’m sure he reduces his other work during the time he is actively directing the film. And I’m sure JJ knows what’s best for JJ without the fandom telling him what he should and should not do.

A little off-topic: I’m wondering how JJ will do in a poll about the best Trek directors in, say, about 10 years.

In ten years, when the hype is over, he will do worse than today.