Roth will play "radical, self-educated surgeon" John Tattersall in a series that will provide "a visceral portrait of the extraordinary and unorthodox lengths he will go to uncover the secrets of the human body" (including using special devices for operating on mutant women?). The Hollywood Reporter notes this is an adaptation of Wendy Moore's biography "The Knife Man," about acclaimed 18th century Scottish surgeon and anatomist John Hunter, famous for his many accomplishments in the realm of medicine, for infecting himself with syphilis and gonorrhea for the sake of an experiment, and for bribing an undertaker for the corpse of Irish giant Charles Byrne, against Byrne's deathbed wishes (he wanted to be buried at sea).
"Knifeman" hasn't yet secured a network. Rolin Jones ("Friday Night Lights") is writing the series, which is based on a story by him and fellow FNL alum Ron Fitzgerald -- Sam Raimi is among the executive producers.
This will be the first major TV venture for Cronenberg, who's only dabbled in the medium before -- he directed a few episodes of the Canadian crime recreation show "Scales of Justice" and the even older anthology series "Peep Show," as well as one of the horror series "Friday the 13th." He's also occasionally appeared in front of the camera on the small screen -- he'll next guest star as a scientist in the pilot for SyFy's upcoming time travel show "Rewind."