Former Chicago P.D. star Sophia Bush will have to wait even longer to make her return to television as the lead for a new series. Her high-concept spy drama Surveillance was passed on by CBS. The actress and the pilot's writer broke the news themselves on social media this week.
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Bush shared several behind-the-scenes photos from the pilot, which fans will likely never see. The One Tree Hill star said she first read the pilot script 18 months ago when she was receiving offers for the 2018 season. When she first read the script, written by David C. White, it was about a "50+ year old woman working in government service." She met with White, and they instantly clicked. Together, they re-worked the show as being about how the woman reached the heights of government service in a man's world.
After redeveloping the project, they found director and executive producer Patricia Riggen. The pitch was sold and they filmed it from November to December 2018. After the pilot was edited from January to March, they showed the pilot to testing groups.
"We delivered the highest testing pilot at the network in nearly 10 years — SO PROUD OF US!! — but ultimately, though it's magic, in the greater landscape of their slate and given the budget of making a big, bold, beautiful show that takes moon shots or nothing, it's just not going to work," Bush wrote.
Bush's statement was so long she needed a second Facebook post, in which she told Hollywood hopefuls to never give up on their dreams.
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2/2 • Never give up on what you know to be art. There’s a business here too & sometimes story + financial computations don’t match up. Be an artist anyway. Have as much fun as we did. And if it’s doesn’t work, don’t take it personally. It’s not about you or your project. If I’ve learned anything from my incredible team @cbstv, who have been great leaders, collaborators, & friends on this? The way you work & your level of commitment will leave a mark no matter the outcome. Their calls to discuss what a special thing this is, and to collectively lament that we just simply can’t manage to make it all work on paper, are a testament to that. I’m grateful, as an actor + producer, that the work has made a mark & led to friendships that’ll last a lifetime. And that my bosses are already looking for the next thing we can do together. • I’m beyond excited to carry this experience onto the next one. Of course I’m sad too. That you all won’t get to see Maddy, in all of her capability & fallibility. The woman I was able to create with Dave and Patricia is someone I’d love for you to meet. I’m crushed that the best TV husband there has ever been, @therealleech, is a man you won’t get to know as Mike. Thank GOD Allen & his IRL wife live 8 minutes away & I see them constantly. And Cata. My sister. My teacher. My partner in crime. These folks? I spent my last Christmas with them! We’re family. And to big fam? Matthew & Dennis? Nick. Brian. Catherine. Judith. Rukiya. Lovell. Tina. What a TEAM! I love you all, til the end of time. Thank you for showing up and showing OFF with all that talent. You all, collectively, taught me a whole new level of collaboration & joy. • As for the amazing fans who’ve been so excited about this project and what’s coming next, thank you for the love! What this means, in technical terms, is that I’m no longer being held from doing other jobs! (*And thank you to @20thcenturyfox for giving me a pass on that contract clause to work on things I love, like #EASY @netflix, even though you could’ve said no!) Now I’ve got MANY scripts in my inbox, and I’ll be sure to put a little (or a lot) of Maddy’s badassery into the next one. Love!
"Never give up on what you know to be art. There's a business here too & sometimes story + financial computations don't match up," Bush wrote. "Be an artist anyway. Have as much fun as we did. And if it's doesn't work, don't take it personally. It's not about you or your project."
Bush continued, "If I've learned anything from my incredible team [CBS] who have been great leaders, collaborators, & friends on this? The way you work & your level of commitment will leave a mark no matter the outcome. Their calls to discuss what a special thing this is, and to collectively lament that we just simply can't manage to make it all work on paper, are a testament to that. I'm grateful, as an actor + producer, that the work has made a mark & led to friendships that'll last a lifetime. And that my bosses are already looking for the next thing we can do together."
On Thursday, White wrote on Twitter that he was "super bummed" that CBS will not be moving forward with the show, but he was looking at the positives of the situation.
I can genuinely say it was an absolute dream working with the development teams at @CBS & @20centuryfoxTV, who always knew exactly what this show could be and pushed us to make it the best possible version of itself.— David C White (@davidcwhite) June 27, 2019
"My girl [Bush] is the QUEEN," he wrote in one tweet. "I wish you all could see what she did with Maddy. It was the joy of a lifetime to witness it. I cannot wait for the next show we make together. She is my sister and I will ride a horse into the sun for us to work together again."
Surveillance was billed as a "complex and timely spy thriller (about) the head of communications for the NSA (Bush), a charming operative who finds her loyalties torn between protecting the government's secrets and her own."
Sources told Variety the show had support at CBS, but the eye network ultimately decided it did not fit on its schedule.
The show was produced by CBS Television Studios, 20th Century Fox Television and 6th and Idaho. Other actors who appeared in the pilot were Raphael Acloque, Dennis Haysbert, Allen Leech, Matthew Modine and Catalina Sandino Moreno.
After leaving Chicago P.D., Bush guest-starred on Netflix's Easy and ABC's short-lived sitcom Alex, Inc. She most recently guest-starred on The CW's Jane the Virgin.
Photo credit: The CW