Aside from having written “The Beaver,” Kyle Killen has been the creator of two smart, highly acclaimed and quickly doomed network shows — the Jason Isaacs-led two realities saga “Awake,” which was cancelled by NBC toward the end of its 13-episode first season earlier this year, and the Fox con man drama “Lone Star,” which was cut after its second episode in 2010. (Killen’s Twitter bio actually reads “I wrote that show that got canceled and that movie you didn’t see.”)
But Killen’s undaunted enough to have a new project in the works — according to Deadline, ABC has just made a put pilot commitment to “Influence,” a “provocative workplace ensemble centered on the complicated relationship between two brothers — a bipolar genius in human psychology and a slick ex-con.” The siblings run a business in which they solve their clients’ problems using the science behind manipulation and motivation, tools the staff also sometimes use on each other.
Both of Killen’s previous television projects were based on dual worlds — in “Awake,” Isaacs’ character mysteriously moved between a universe in which only his wife survived a traumatic car accident, and another in which only his son did, while in “Lone Star” the protagonist tried to balance two separate identities, the jobs and the women who went with them. “Influence” sounds more straightforward (with a description that vaguely recalls the late Tim Roth series “Lie to Me”) than those earlier shows, so if it goes to series it might have a better chance of building an audience — though you have to wonder what Killen could do wtih the freer range of a series at a cable network.