FOX will have an original scripted series on its schedule this summer, thanks to some international cooperation.
The medical drama "Mental," about a psychiatrist helping patients at a Los Angeles hospital, will hit the FOX schedule sometime in the summer. The show is a result of an co-production between Fox Television Studios and Fox International Channels, which helps keeps costs in check and sets up a distribution pipeline to other countries. "Mental's" 13 episodes were shot in Colombia.
"Fox Television Studios presented us with an interesting opportunity," FOX chairman Peter Liguori says. "One of our goals has been to get original scripted programming on our air during the summer, and they created a model that will allow us to do it."
"Mental" sounds something like a mental-health version of "House," down to a British-born actor in the lead role. The series stars Chris Vance ("Prison Break") as Dr. Jack Gallagher, the new head of mental health services at a Los Angeles hospital. His unconventional approach to treating patients causes conflict with his boss (Annabella Sciorra, "The Sopranos," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"), who's also an ex.
Deborah Joy Levine ("Lois & Clark") and Dan Levine ("The Division") are executive producing "Mental," which is the first of several international co-productions Fox TV Studios has a hand in.
Other networks have also been looking outside U.S. borders for programming. CBS has found success with Canadian import "Flashpoint," while NBC is shooting its drama "The Philanthropist" overseas and has rights to another Canadian series, "The Listener."