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Jonathan Demme to Direct Pilot for CBS Medical Drama

It's been a long time since Oscar winner Jonathan Demme ventured into prime-time TV: As far as we can tell, his last major small-screen credit was an episode of Columbo back in 1978. But now Vulture hears the director of The Silence of the Lambs and Rachel Getting Married has closed a deal to direct the pilot episode of a new medical drama in the works at CBS. The untitled hour, from Oscar-nominated feature writer Susannah Grant (Erin Brockovich), tells the story of a super-competitive surgeon whose life is turned upside down following the death of his ex-wife. It's really not her passing that shatters him, though; it's probably the fact that she starts communicating with him from beyond the grave, helping him to figure out what life's all about. Insiders say there wasn't a dramatic story behind Demme's decision to come onboard: The director read Grant's script, liked it, and told his reps at ICM to accept the gig. Demme joins a long list of feature helmers who've moonlighted in TV in recent years, including Spike Lee and McG.

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