CBS has ordered a full season of the controversial Sherlock Holmes serial, Elementary.
When CBS first eyed a pilot for a crime procedural which places Sherlock Holmes in modern-day New York City, it seemed to rock a few boats over at the BBC, specifically Hartswood films, which is responsible for the production of Sherlock, a very popular show which depicts the detective in modern-day London.
Sherlock producer Sue Verture had gone as far as to threaten legal action against CBS if it continued with the pilot. She argued Elementary was too similar to the BBC show, which CBS had asked for permission earlier to make their own version of, which Hartswood turned down, with the reasoning that the BBC show already has an American audience through iStore and DVD sales.
Meaning, if CBS wanted to buy and air Sherlock episodes from the BBC, they could, but the BBC did not want them to make a new ‘modern Holmes’ series which would compete with their own. CBS apparently accepted this and backed down, but then went ahead with their plan to create the new show anyway, without the assistance of the BBC.
Of course, with the Sherlock Holmes character in the public domain for some time now, it would be very difficult to get any judge to agree that any infringement is going on, but one can see that some feathers have been ruffled.
Let’s hope it was worth the bridge-burning for CBS. We haven’t heard anything further about this lawsuit since January, so one might guess that either an agreement has been reached somewhere, or Vertue decided to just drop the idea.
The series will star Jonny Lee Miller, mostly known for Eli Stone, as the modern-day Holmes; Lucy Liu, formerly one of the hottest action film stars – and still one of the most exotically attractive women in Hollywood, as Dr. Jane Watson, a former surgeon who helps Holmes out with his cases; and Aidan Quinn in a recurring role of some kind.
Elementary debuts this fall on CBS.