The six-part series, titled Wild Bill, has been commissioned by ITV.
It will see Lowe – known for his roles in The West Wing, Parks and Recreation, St Elmo’s Fire, and Wayne’s World – play top US cop Bill Hixon, who is appointed Chief Constable of the East Lincolnshire Police Force.
The press release which accompanies today’s announcement gives a taste of what audiences can expect.
“When high-flying US police chief Bill Hixon lands in Boston, Lincolnshire, with his 14 year-old daughter Kelsey in tow, he’s hoping they can flee their painful recent past,” it states. “But this unfamiliar, unimpressed community will force Bill to question everything about himself and leave him asking whether it’s Boston that needs Bill, or Bill that needs Boston?”
Lowe, who also acts as an executive producer for the series, said: “As an actor, Wild Bill is a larger than life character who’s outrageously articulate, has nothing to lose and revels in being an American fish out of water. As an executive producer, I’m excited to work with such talented partners and to come back to work in the UK, which I always love.”
“With a first class degree in criminology, a masters in psychopathology and a doctorate in statistical mapping, Bill Hixon is impressively qualified to tackle the county’s crime figures with his graphs, charts, algorithms and a tapestry of digits,” the press release continues. “Whip-smart, acerbic and unstoppable, Bill is very good at what he does. America’s Top Metropolitan Police Chief three years running is the ideal candidate to make his mark on the East Lincolnshire Force, not least by driving through drastic cuts. From the outset Bill isn’t about making friends. He’s here to get the job done and get the hell out as quick as his spin-class-toned legs will carry him.”
Filming will take place around London and in Lincolnshire from November. Further casting details will be available prior to filming commencing.
Wild Bill will be the first time 42 (Traitors, Ironbark, Watership Down), Anonymous Content (13 Reasons Why, Maniac, Mr. Robot), and ITV Studios label Shiver have collaborated to produce a drama series for the channel.
It is created by David Griffiths (The Hunted, Collateral Damage), Kyle Killen (Halo, Awake), and Dudi Appleton and Jim Keeble (Silent Witness, Thorne: Sleepyhead & Scaredycat, Trial & Retribution), and will be written by lead writers and show-runners Keeble and Appleton.
Keeble and Appleton said: “Wild Bill gives us an chance to write about modern Britain and modern crime through unique eyes. We wrote this for Rob Lowe, for his smart-talking, anarchic, soulful voice.
“Displacing Rob in Brexit Britain and specifically in Boston, Lincolnshire allows us to tell stories that are leftfield and unexpected. We wanted to write something that couldn’t take place anywhere else, or at any other time.”
ITV’s Head of Drama Polly Hill said: “I’m delighted to have Wild Bill on ITV, as it’s a really fresh take on police procedure and introduces a brilliant new cop to be played by the wonderful Rob Lowe. It’s a fantastic team and an exciting new drama for next year.”
The drama will be directed by lead director Charles Martin (Marcella, Skins, Wallander) and produced by Chris Thompson (Emerald City, The Fear, Eric and Ernie).
Eleanor Moran and Rory Aitken of 42 said: “Wild Bill is a sharp-witted and original take on the police procedural show which audiences have yet to see in this genre. Rob Lowe has a magnetic screen presence which is perfectly suited to bring the character of Bill Hixon to life: a blunt, take-no-prisoners police chief who shakes up the Lincolnshire Force. We can’t wait to get started.”
Tim Carter, managing director of ITV Studios label Shiver and executive producer said: “Wild Bill is Shiver’s first scripted project and brand new territory for the label. Having been fortunate to partner with the innovative and inspiring 42 on other scripted projects before coming to ITV Studios, I am delighted to be working with them again and hope this collaboration will be the first of many. Add the peerless track record of US super-producer Anonymous Content into the mix, genius show-runners in Jim and Dudi, and of course a Hollywood legend ... it’s beyond exciting.”