Jennifer Lopez’s NBC drama ‘Shades of Blue’ still exists, will be directed by Barry Levinson

NBC announced the Jennifer Lopez drama “Shades of Blue” back in February, revealing that the police procedural had received a 13-episode direct-to-series order for the 2015-16 season. That was an impressive piece of longterm planning from the network, which was months from ending the 2013-14 season and only in the early phases of plotting its schedule for the 2014-15 season.

Given the foresight of the announcement, it's not surprising that nobody has really said much about “Shades of Blue” for the past eight months, which made it a pleasant surprise to get Monday's (October 6) release saying that not only does NBC remember that “Shades of Blue” exists, but a director has been hired, an Oscar and Emmy winner at that.

Per NBC, Barry Levinson will direct the “Shades of Blue” pilot and will serve as executive producer. Levinson will also “be hands-on and participate in the development process,” which is a good thing is you're working on a police drama and you secure the attentions of one of the men behind “Homicide: Life on the Street.”

Written by Adi Hasak, “Shades of Blue” focuses on Lopez's Harlee McCord, a single mother and detective recruited for an undercover gig with the FBI's anti-corruption task force.

“It's an exciting project to be working on with Jennifer,” Levinson blurbs. “Adi has written a police drama that gets into the fascinating dirt behind law enforcement with a female character we haven't really seen before.”

“Shades of Blue” is being produced by Lopez and “American Idol” cohort Ryan Seacrest through their Nuyorican Productions and Ryan Seacrest Productions shingles.

In addition to his Oscar win for “Rain Man,” Levinson has Oscar nods for writing or directing “Diner,” “Avalon,” “Bugsy” and “…And Justice For All.” Levinson has a pair of Emmy wins for writing on “The Carol Burnett Show,” an Emmy win for producing “Displaced Person” and yet another Emmy for directing on “Homicide.” He's most recently been Emmy nominated for HBO's “You Don't Know Jack” and “Phil Spector.”

I never really though NBC had forgotten about “Shades of Blue,” but as David Duchovny's “Aquarius” and the oddly star-studded “The Slap” have advanced deep into casting and pre-production, “Emerald City” was relatively quietly put out to pasture despite its full miniseries order.