Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Never Game - What We Know So Far

With the 2022 Fall television season set to kick into high gear, viewers are about to be flush with intriguing new series to discover, as well as fresh episodes of their tried-and-true favorites. Yet with streaming services and cable TV continuing to overhaul the ideology behind traditional television production seasons, the big networks are finally starting to follow suit. That mostly means they're setting up what they call "off-cycle," or "second cycle" development processes (per Deadline). 

The idea behind that approach is not only to have new product to release outside of the time-honored Fall slate but to give certain projects a little more time to gestate in lieu of rushing them through production for that season premiere window. That seems to be just the approach CBS is taking with one of the high-profile shows it picked up the rights to back in 2021 (via Deadline). That show is titled "The Never Game," and though it has yet to shoot a single frame of footage, it's shaping up to be one of the network's most intriguing pipeline projects. Here's everything we know about "The Never Game" so far. 

Who is in the cast of The Never Game?

CBS officially gave "The Never Game" a pilot order in July, which is about as "off-cycle" a move as any network has made this year in terms of timing. There are some very good reasons CBS is so high on the project, as the show will be based on a series of novels from famed crime-mystery writer Jeffrey Deaver, who's perhaps best known for penning the novel "The Bone Collector," which was itself adapted into a hit film and a short-lived TV series. 

Just as exciting is that the small screen adaptation of "The Never Game" will be produced and directed by lauded TV veteran Ken Olin, who's contributed work to beloved series like "Thirtysomething," "Freaks and Geeks," "The West Wing," "Alias," and most recently "This Is Us." Olin's stint on that latter show has proven quite fortuitous in bringing "The Never Game" to fruition, as the producer-director will reportedly re-team with one of that series' stars, Justin Hartley, who portrayed the oft-troubled Pearson sibling Kevin in all six seasons of "This Is Us." Hartley will headline the new series and is also set to executive produce alongside Olin.

As of this writing, no other casting announcements have been made for "The Never Game." Stay tuned for updates.

When will The Never Game be released?

As reported by Deadline earlier this year, part of what pushed "The Never Game" into the off-cycle realm was that CBS wanted some extra time to bone up the pilot's screenplay, replacing original scribe Michael Cooney with Ben Winters. Seems the network was hot to land Justin Hartley for the lead role, and adjusted the series' production to accommodate the actor's shooting schedule on the final season of "This Is Us."

If you're wondering how all of that will impact the release of "The Never Game," the simple answer is that we've probably got a bit of a wait before we actually get to see it. As it stands, Hartley is the only confirmed member of the series' cast, and filming on the pilot has yet to begin. While CBS is reportedly looking to fast-track production on said pilot, so far that is all the network has committed to. Assuming things go well on the pilot front, it's likely the earliest we'd see "The Never Game" on CBS would be sometime in 2023, with the series potentially debuting as a mid-season replacement.

Rest assured, we'll have updates if and when the premiere date of "The Never Game" is announced.

What is the plot of The Never Game?

As for what Justin Hartley will be doing in "The Never Game," the series will truly be a dramatic change of pace for the actor. It will also offer a massive change in scope as Hartley will be the sole headliner on the show, and will likely lean more on his physicality than "This Is Us" ever really did (even if his physique was often a topic of discussion). That second aspect shouldn't prove too much of a hurdle as Hartley first landed on many a viewer's radar for his action-packed turn as Oliver Queen (aka Green Arrow) on The WB hit "Smallville." 

Per the official synopsis of "The Never Game," Hartley should still have ample opportunity to showcase the acting chops that were regularly on display in "This Is Us" playing Colter Shaw, "a lone-wolf survivalist who roams the country as a 'reward seeker,' using his expert tracking skills to help private citizens and law enforcement to solve all manner of mysteries while contending with his own fractured family." According to the book's synopsis (as posted on Deaver's own web page), "The Never Game" will find Shaw tracking a missing person, and eventually a killer in Silicon Valley, with each crime having ties to the billion-dollar video game industry. Needless to say, that timely setup should make for an electrifying season of television when "The Never Game" makes its way to the primetime realm.