Ben Affleck Heads to TV to Direct ‘The Middle Man’ Crime Drama Pilot at Fox

By September 14, 2013

Ben Affleck - Directing

As fans are still reeling from the Warner Bros. announcement that Ben Affleck will play the new Batman in Zack Snyder’s developing sequel to Man of Steel, which may be called Superman vs. Batman, the actor, writer and director just keeps on pressing, and this time he’s moving towards the small screen.

Deadline reports that Affleck, the co-writer and co-star of Good Will Hunting, will be following his flourishing directing career (Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Argo) with his TV directing debut. Affleck will direct the pilot for a new crime drama series on Fox called “The Middle Man,” which he will also executive produce with “Moonlighting” and “Remington Steele” creator Glenn Gordon Caron, who will serve as writer and showrunner.

It shouldn’t surprise audiences that this new crime drama is set on Affleck’s home turf of Boston. This story heads back into the 1960s to follow an FBI agent named Rudy MacAteer who has been charged with taking down the Italian mafia. But even with a confidential informant on his side in the form of an Irish-American gangster named Mickey Flood, the FBI inadvertently gives way for the rise of the Irish mob, and MacAteer finds himself bending the very laws he’s sworn to uphold.

Ben Affleck - The Town

This sounds like it could have some of the flare that made The Departed great, but with Affleck’s sensibilities that made The Town such a success. In fact, this series essentially started developing while Affleck was shooting that film in Boston. Affleck and his Pearl Street Films partner Chay Carter (also executive producing “The Middle Man”) met with writers Michael Yebba (Ordinary Man) and Emilio Mauro (God Only Knows) to try and get the project off the ground, but slow development and Affleck’s preoccupation with Argo kept it from progressing.

But then Affleck and Caron met by way of their agency, the two hit it off with Caron writing the pilot script on spec after developing the story with Yebba and Mauro, both of whom will also serve as executive producers. Now the next step is casting to get the project ready to shoot in early 2014, likely before Affleck has to go off and shoot the Man of Steel sequel in Detroit. It’ll be his first TV project since the early 2000s when he was working on “Project Greenlight.”

The fact that Affleck is directing a pilot like this just goes to show you how great the medium is doing right now. It’s almost a new golden era of television as the quality of programming keeps rising, matching, and even exceeding that of its big screen counterparts. Pearl Street Films is in the midst of expanding their TV programming, so you can expect plenty more from Affleck’s company down the road.

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Ethan Anderton
Some of his favorite films include Ghostbusters, The Empire Strikes Back and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, while his favorite TV series include LOST, Mad Men, 30 Rock, Parks & Recreation, Arrested Development and Saturday Night Live.