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C.J. Box

C.J. Box’s Latest ‘Joe Pickett’ Novel Debuts At No. 2 On NYT Bestsellers, Bested By Dolly Parton

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

C.J. Box’s latest novel in the “Joe Pickett” series debuted high on the “New York Times” bestseller list this week, but was kept off the top spot by a famous blonde and her co-author.

“Shadows Reel,” the 22nd novel in the series about Box’s famous game warden, debuted at number two on the NYT bestseller list for hardback fiction and combined hardback/ebook this week, after being released on March 8.

The number one slot was taken by Dolly Parton and James Patterson, whose book “Run, Rose, Run,” was released the same week.

Although it would have been nice to be number one, Box had no hard feelings about Parton and Patterson’s book debuting in the top spot, he told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.

“If I have to get edged out of the number one ranking on the ‘New York Times’ best-seller lists for hardback fiction and combined hardback /eBook, I can think of worse situations than being bumped by Dolly Parton,” Box told Cowboy State Daily. “I love Dolly like everyone does.”

Parton and Patterson’s book is about a young country singer named Rose, who is harboring a secret that could destroy her music career. Parton has said the book is inspired by her life, and she will soon release an album of songs inspired by the novel.

“Shadows Reel” is about Pickett and his wife Marybeth each finding clues to sinister crimes that puts their family in potential danger.

Box’s latest Pickett book debuted at number three on the bestseller list.

The series based on the Pickett novels, “Joe Pickett,” was renewed for a second season last month. Box is serving as an executive producer on the series, as he does for “Big Sky,” which is based on his Cassie Dewell novels and airs on ABC.

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C.J. Box’s ‘Joe Pickett’ TV Series Renewed For Second Season; Show Is Most Watched On Spectrum

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The “Joe Pickett” television series, based on Wyoming author C.J. Box’s famous game warden, has been renewed for a second season, Spectrum Originals announced Wednesday.

According to Deadline, Katherine Pope, head of Spectrum Originals, said that the C.J Box adaptation was watched by more than 1 million households in the first month after its December launch, making it the company’s most-watched original before the full season was released.

Box said he was pleased with the news.

“I am thrilled to hear there will be a season two of Joe Pickett on Spectrum as well as the fact that more people will be able to see the series when it streams on Paramount-Plus later this year,” Box told Cowboy State Daily on Wednesday. “We loved season one, and there is no better experience for an author than to see his books come to life in an authentic way that is true to the novels.”

The series debuted in early December on Spectrum and ended its first season run later that month.

Pope hopes that Pickett series can go on “forever.”

“It’s an evergreen show,” she said. “There’s an opportunity with this show to continue to grow it and take the journey with these characters.”

Season one followed the Pickett family members as they found themselves in the crosshairs when a murder victim wound up on their doorstep and they were forced to navigate a tangled web of schemes, secrets and conspiracy amidst the scenic vistas of the Wyoming wilderness

Box is serving as an executive producer on the series, as he did for “Big Sky,” which is based on his Cassie Dewell novels.

Box has written 20 Pickett novels, so the showrunners definitely have a lot of material to use for the series, should it be renewed for a third season.

New Zealand actor Michael Dornan portrays Pickett in the series.

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Wyoming Author C.J. Box’s ‘Joe Pickett’ Series Premiered Monday Night

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Almost 11 months after it was announced, the “Joe Pickett” series, based on Wyoming author C.J. Box’s character of the same name, premiered Monday night on Spectrum.

Box expressed his excitement about the premiere on Monday.

“Guess what premieres today on Spectrum Originals? The very first episode of Joe Pickett Did you brush up on Open Season to fully appreciate the experience of seeing the Picketts in person (especially Joe in his bathrobe and holster)?” Box wrote.

The series follows Pickett and his family as they navigate the changing political and socio-economic climate in small-town Wyoming while also investigating the schemes and secrets of the area.

Box told one fan who couldn’t watch the premiere because he was living outside of the Spectrum service area that it will be available in other places in 2022.

“Sorry about that. Those who can’t get Spectrum will be able to watch it on Paramount+ when it moves there. All of Season 1 will be available,” Box said.

The first three episodes of Joe Pickett debuted Monday, Dec. 6. New episodes will continue streaming every Monday until the finale airs on Monday, Dec. 27, according to Decider.

Signing up for Spectrum as a standalone service isn’t cheap. Subscriptions start at $44.99 per month.

Actor Michael Dorman said he hoped his portrayal of Pickett lived up to the book.

“With books, everyone is going to have their own interpretation. For me, playing Joe Pickett was more about trying to capture the essence of him,” Dorman told UPI.

The actor said he was attracted to the part because of where it takes place.

“I was drawn to that. I love the outdoors. I love the landscape. I think it’s its own landscape in our show. I love being in it and I’ve loved watching what I’ve seen so far. I love these characters like I love the story,” Dorman said.

Executive producers John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle previously told Deadline that they “fell in love” with the Joe Pickett novels because of their “nuanced take on morality in a morally ambiguous world.”

“We became fascinated with Joe’s obsession with the ideas of truth, fairness, and the order of things, and perhaps even more fascinated with the trauma that made him that way,” they said.

“These days, there is so much to relate to in the Pickett family’s desire for a simpler life, and also in the notion that unresolved elements of our past tend to follow us wherever we go. Spending the last few years with the Pickett family has been one of the great joys of our careers, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring them to life on screen.”

New Zealand actor Michael Dorman, best known for his roles “The Invisible Man” remake and the Apple TV+ series “For All Mankind,” has been cast as Pickett.

The series will air for a nine-month exclusive run on Spectrum. Box is serving as an executive producer on the series, as he did for “Big Sky,” which is based on his Cassie Dewell novels.

Box has written 20 Pickett novels, so the showrunners definitely have a lot of material to use for the series, should it be renewed for a second season.

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C.J. Box’s ‘Joe Pickett’ Series To Premiere In December

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

After months of waiting, the premiere date for the TV show “Joe Pickett,” a character created by Wyoming author C.J. Box, has been announced.

The 10-episode program will premiere on Dec. 6 on Spectrum Originals, according to the studio.

Box shared a video about the production, which included footage from the show and clips of him talking about the Spectrum production.

“It’s not my first rodeo,” Box said in the video. “Over the years, there have been at least four attempts to film Joe Pickett for TV. Not until this adaption did it feel right… the creators understood what these books were about.”

The series will follow Pickett and his family as they navigate the changing political and socio-economic climate in small-town Wyoming while also investigating the schemes and secrets hidden in the area.

“The first time I walked on the set, it was perfect,” Box said in the video.

Executive producers John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle told Deadline that they “fell in love” with the Joe Picket novels because of their “nuanced take on morality in a morally ambiguous world.”

“We became fascinated with Joe’s obsession with the ideas of truth, fairness, and the order of things, and perhaps even more fascinated with the trauma that made him that way,” they said.

“These days, there is so much to relate to in the Pickett family’s desire for a simpler life, and also in the notion that unresolved elements of our past tend to follow us wherever we go. Spending the last few years with the Pickett family has been one of the great joys of our careers, and we couldn’t be more excited to bring them to life on screen.”

New Zealand actor Michael Dorman, best known for his roles “The Invisible Man” remake and the Apple TV+ series “For All Mankind,” has been cast as Pickett.

Box said he got a chill while on set and seeing a woodpile that plays an integral role in the first Pickett book.

The series will air for a nine-month exclusive run on Spectrum. Box is serving as an executive producer on the series, as he did for “Big Sky,” which is based on his Cassie Dewell novels.

“Everyone is doing their best to recreate that authenticity,” Box said in the video.

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C.J. Box Stunned At County Attorney’s Mishandling of Gun in Rittenhouse Trial

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

While the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse has captured the attention of the nation over the past few days, there was one particular part of the proceedings that Wyoming author C.J. Box called attention to: the mishandling of the gun by the county attorney in the courtroom.

Box, usually not one to comment on polarizing issues, undoubtedly knew he could safely enter the waters on this one. Who’s going to be anti-gun safety?

It was egregious. When Kenosha County Attorney Thomas Binger held up a rifle to make a demonstration, he wrongly pointed it at the jury and put his finger on the trigger.

That was enough to get Box on Twitter to rant.

“This is not a comment about the Rittenhouse trial, but a prosecutor (or anyone else) should NEVER curl their finger around the trigger of a firearm they believe is unloaded,” Box said.

“Those of us out in the sticks take gun safety seriously.  My 7-year-old granddaughter knows better,” he said.

Box wasn’t the only one in disbelief. Wyoming State Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne, quickly waded into the Twitterverse posting a widely circulated photo of gun-toting Taliban fighters posing in the Afghanistan presidential palace last August.

Of the gun-toters, their fingers were not on the trigger — nor were the guns pointed at anyone.

“Even the Taliban practice safer gun etiquette than you do!” he tweeted to Mr. Binger.

The problem, according to another Wyoming legislator — Rep. Jeremy Haroldson (R-Wheatland) —  is the lack of firearms training and where many get their first impressions of guns.

“I think a lot of what’s going on is most peoples’ opinions of firearms have been built from video games,” Haroldson told Cowboy State Daily.

The lawmaker who is also a pastor at Impact Ministries in Wheatland said building the right culture around gun use is critical. So critical that he started a rigorous firearms training course called “Impact Outdoors” which gives people full exposure to gun use.

“A lot of people will use a firearm but will never have an aptitude with it because they’ve never done it enough,” he said.  “We teach them a ton about firearms and get them comfortable around them, comfortable operating them, holding them safely, and the overall culture of guns.”

“Remember, guns are tools and they are designed for a specific purpose. When you understand that, they are very safe,” he said. “When you don’t think of them that way, that’s how people get shot.”

And people do get shot. 

Nina Webber, a hunter and gun enthusiast who works at GunRunner Auctions in Cody, brought up the recent tragedy in New Mexico where Alec Baldwin, who said he was told a gun was unloaded, shot and killed a member of a film crew.

“Didn’t we just have a tragic event on a movie set recently?” Webber said. “Binger’s lack of safely handling a firearm could have easily caused the death of an innocent person.  Isn’t that what just happened on the movie set?”

Nina said the rules of handling a gun are simple.

“Treat every gun like it is gun like it is loaded.  It is loaded,” Webber said.

“Never point a firearm unless you are ready to destroy the target. You keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to execute the shot.  And you know what’s beyond the backstop. You know what’s beyond the target,” she said.

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C.J. Box’s “Big Sky” Returns For Second Season Next Week

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The wait is almost over as “Big Sky,” the series based on C.J. Box’s Cassie Dewell novels, will return for its second season next week.

Season two of the popular drama/mystery series will begin Sept. 30 on ABC. Check local listings for the time.

Season one concluded in May after 16 episodes, somewhat of a rarity for a first season on a popular cable network, where first-season shows are generally limited to 10 episodes. “Big Sky” was also given a full first season order when the show was announced rather than an abbreviated order for fewer episodes.

It was not clear how many episodes would be produced for season two, although Deadline, an entertainment news outlet, did confirm there would be a bevy of new cast members this season, including “The Vampire Diaries” actor Michael Malarkey, “Fargo” actor Ryan O’Nan and more.

Screenwriter and producer Elwood Reid will be showrunner for the second season of “Big Sky,” taking over for David E. Kelley, who also worked on hit series such as “Big Little Lies.”

According to Deadline, season two will see private detectives Dewell and Jenny Hoyt reuniting to investigate a car wreck outside of Helena, Montana, but they discover that the case might not be as straightforward as it seems.

From the season two trailer, that might be an understatement. It’s got a supposedly dead person, creepy men giving strange warnings, a group of teenagers stealing drugs and money and a woman with bold red lipstick who says Montana’s big sky views are “such a vibe.”

C.J. Box did not immediately respond to Cowboy State Daily’s request for comment on Thursday, but we know of at least one viewer who will be watching season two: legendary horror author Stephen King, who regularly praised the first season of the show.

“BIG SKY gets the best line of the month (so far): “Ronald? Not to overstate the obvious, but you kidnapped the wrong girls,’” King wrote in early December following an episode.

The author is obviously a fan of the series’ writing, as he has praised other lines from the show.

“Best line of the week goes to Ronald (Brian Geraghty) in BIG SKY, when talking–shouting–at his mother: “I’M EATING MY CEREAL AND I DON’T WANT JUDGEMENT!’” he wrote.

The first season followed Dewell and Hoyt as they searched for two sisters who were kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana.

Box has not made many social media posts himself about the second season of the show returning, but has regularly retweeted posts from the cast about the trailer dropping and the season premiere date.

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C.J. Box’s “Dark Sky” Is One Of Stephen King’s Favorite Summer Reads

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Famed author Stephen King hasn’t been shy about his praise for C.J. Box’s work, but he made it official this week with a mention of Box’s latest book on a list of his favorite summer reading material.

Box’s latest Joe Pickett novel, “Dark Sky,” was named as one of King’s favorite summer reads of the year on an list published by Amazon list.

“You may have seen Big Sky on TV, the excellent adaptation of Box’s Highway Trilogy,” King wrote. “Those three books are good, but this one, featuring game warden Joe Pickett, is even better. Stuck with the job of babysitting a tech mogul who wants a hunting experience, the hunt for big-game elk turns into a pulse-pounding chase story you won’t be able to put down.”

“Dark Sky” was one of four picks by the horror author.

Box was pretty excited about the news, sharing the list on his social media account on Wednesday.

“Guess what made the list of one of the great Stephen King’s favorite summer reads? Pretty cool. Thanks Mr. King!” Box wrote.

King said last fall that “Big Sky” was one of his favorite shows on TV.

“I think BIG SKY (ABC) is the best drama on network television,” King wrote on his Twitter account. “With the last three episodes, it’s tiptoeing into Emmy territory.”

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C.J. Box Reveals More ‘Joe Pickett’ Casting, ‘Big Sky’ Sheriff Jumping to New Series

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming author C.J. Box has been regularly trickling out new information about the long-awaited “Joe Pickett” television series, and this week, he announced an actor coming to the show will be familiar to viewers of another series based on his books.

Patrick Gallagher, who plays Sheriff Walter Tubb on “Big Sky,” adapted from Box’s Cassie Dewell novels, is making the jump to play another sheriff, Barnum, to be precise, in the “Joe Pickett” series, according to entertainment news outlet Deadline.

“Yowza! The sheriff in BIG SKY will now be the sheriff in JOE PICKETT as well. Worlds collide!” Box wrote in a tweet on Thursday.

The author included a follow-up message, congratulating Gallagher on the role. The actor responded soon after, thanking Box for writing both of the characters.

“Thanks C J… Such a thrill to play both of those guys…who woulda thunk it ..lol Thanks for writing such great characters… It’s an honor to play them and bring them to life,” Gallagher said.

According to Deadline, Barnum “is an institution in Twelve Sleep County who’s learned that enforcing the law is not so black and white in this place and clashes with the Warden’s involvement in his murder case and doesn’t take kindly to the implication that he isn’t doing his job.”

The cast will also include David Alan Grier, Julianna Guill, Sharon Lawrence, Mustafa Speaks, Paul Sparks, Skywalker Hughes and Kamryn Pliva.

They will join New Zealand actor Michael Dorman, best known for his roles “The Invisible Man” remake and the Apple TV+ series “For All Mankind,” who has been cast as Pickett.

The series will follow Pickett and his family as they navigate the changing political and socio-economic climate in small-town Wyoming while also investigating the schemes and secrets hidden in the area.

Grier, a veteran of the Fox Television series “In Living Color” and a number of movies including the 1995 version of “Jumanji,” will play Vern, a gregarious, larger-than-life former game warden.

Guill will portray Marybeth Pickett, wife to Joe and mother to two young daughters. Lawrence will play Missy, the mother of Marybeth.

Speaks will portray Nate, a former Special Ops solider. Sparks will play Wacey, an ex-rodeo cowboy with a slick charm who is about to begin his campaign for sheriff.

Hughes will portray Sheridan and Pliva will play Lucy, the Pickett children.

The series will air for a nine-month exclusive run on Spectrum. Box is serving as an executive producer on the series, as he did for “Big Sky,” which was recently renewed for a second season.

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C.J. Box Catches Beautiful Rainbow Trout (And He’s Not Telling You Where He Caught It)

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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

Catching a great fish is similar to the movie “Fight Club” in that there are specific rules to follow.

The first rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club, so the script goes in the 1999 Brad Pitt movie.

The first rule of fly fishing is you don’t ask where the fish was caught.

A good angler is not going to tell you. A good angler also knows never to ask.

Wyoming author C.J. Box is a good angler. And he backs it up by posting photos of his catch.

Like he did over the weekend with a beautiful 22-inch rainbow trout that he caught on the North Platte here in Wyoming.

“Great day on the river!* Caught and released this 22-inch rainbow,” Box tweeted.

What does the asterisk mean?  It refers to line two of the tweet.  Where you’ll find the words “Don’t ask…”

That’s for the rookies who would — of course — try to get him to divulge his location.

However, he didn’t give it up, of course. And most of his followers on Twitter didn’t press him.

It wasn’t until a Facebook post on Tuesday (with the same photo) that he even specified the river.

Box did, however, provide some information.

“Can we at least inquire what type of fly you employed,” asked Brent McCarthy.

“Sure,” Box said. “We were using nymph rigs.”

Thus ended the fishing conversation with Box. 

When will fans actually see Box again — in person? He did say that book tours will happen again sometime.

But in the meantime, fans can read his latest book “Dark Sky” or watch one of his two TV shows: “Big Sky” (which was just renewed for Season 2) or “Joe Pickett” — a new series which will start production soon.

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More of “Joe Pickett” TV Show Cast Announced

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

More of the cast for the new “Joe Pickett” television series, based on the C.J. Box character and book series, was announced on Monday.

The cast will include David Alan Grier, Julianna Guill, Sharon Lawrence, Mustafa Speaks, Paul Sparks, Skywalker Hughes and Kamryn Pliva, according to Deadline.

These actors will all be series regulars in “Joe Pickett,” the new hour-long drama based on Box’s bestselling novels.

Grier, a veteran of the Fox Television series “In Living Color” and a number of movies including the 1995 version of “Jumanji,” will play Vern, a gregarious, larger-than-life former game warden.

Guill will portray Marybeth Pickett, wife to Joe and mother to two young daughters. Lawrence will play Missy, the mother of Marybeth.

Speaks will portray Nate, a former Special Ops solider. Sparks will play Wacey, an ex-rodeo cowboy with a slick charm who is about to begin his campaign for sheriff.

Hughes will portray Sheridan and Pliva will play Lucy, the Pickett children.

They will join New Zealand actor Michael Dorman, best known for his roles “The Invisible Man” remake and the Apple TV+ series “For All Mankind,” who has been cast as Pickett.

The series will follow Pickett and his family as they navigate the changing political and socio-economic climate in small town Wyoming while also investigating the schemes and secrets hidden in the area.

The series will air for a nine-month exclusive run on Spectrum.

Box is serving as an executive producer to the series, the second show produced from his works. The other, “Big Sky,” is currently airing on ABC.

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C.J. Box’s Latest Book “Dark Sky” Debuts #3 On New York Times Bestseller List

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

C.J. Box’s latest novel will debut in the top five of the New York Times Best Sellers list, the author announced this week.

Dark Sky,” the latest entry in Box’s Joe Pickett series, will debut at No. 3 in combined hardcover and ebook sales and No. 4 in hardcover sales on the March 21 list, he announced on social media.

“We’re extremely happy to report that DARK SKY will debut as the #3 book in combined hardcover and ebook sales and the #4 book in hardcover sales on the March 21 New York Times Best Seller List!” Box wrote on Twitter. “And that sales are up 21% overall! Thanks to you, readers, for making this happen.”

The book was released earlier this month and follows Pickett as he accompanies a Silicon Valley CEO on a hunting trip, but finds out that something more sinister is afoot.

This is the 21st book in the Pickett series, which is in the works to be adapted as a live-action show as well. Not much information has been released about the show, but it is expected to begin production in Canada sometime this summer.

Making the NYT Best Sellers list isn’t a new accomplishment for Box, but it is something to celebrate, nonetheless.

It’s shaping up to be a good year for the Wyoming author, with the success of the latest Pickett novel, the adaptation of the series and the hopeful continuation of “Big Sky,” the ABC series adapted from Box’s Cassie Dewell novels.

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Stephen King Is Big Fan of “Big Sky”

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

“Big Sky” has become one of the nation’s biggest cable network drama series, gaining millions of fans, and one of its biggest fans is horror author Stephen King.

“I think BIG SKY (ABC) is the best drama on network television,” King wrote this week on his Twitter account. “With the last three episodes, it’s tiptoeing into Emmy territory.”

“If Stephen King says so…” responded C.J. Box, the Wyoming author whose Cassie Dewell books from which the show is adapted.

Box also shared a link to an article that detailed King’s praise of the series, which began airing in the fall.

King has been watching the show since its premiere, it would seem, since he has been tweeting about it since December.

“BIG SKY gets the best line of the month (so far): “Ronald? Not to overstate the obvious, but you kidnapped the wrong girls,'” King wrote in early December following an episode.

The author is obviously a fan of the series’ writing, as he has praised other lines from the show.

“Best line of the week goes to Ronald (Brian Geraghty) in BIG SKY, when talking–shouting–at his mother: “I’M EATING MY CEREAL AND I DON’T WANT JUDGEMENT!'” he wrote.

Last month, the series was renewed for six more episodes for a total of 16.

The series, created by “Big Little Lies” showrunner David E. Kelley, follows private detective Cassie Dewell, played by Kylie Bunbury, and ex-cop Jenny Hoyt, played by Katheryn Winnick, who join forces to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana.

When they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, they must race against the clock to stop the killer before another woman is taken.

Box previously told a Denver news station that he got the idea for the story from a personal experience, after his daughter came home to Cheyenne from the University of Wyoming for Thanksgiving.

“When she arrived at our house, I went out to check her car and the ‘check engine’ light was on,” he said. “And I asked her, how long has that been on because I knew how much traffic was on that road. And her answer was, ‘Don’t worry, it’s always on.’”

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C.J. Box’s “Big Sky” Renewed For Six More Episodes

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Six more episodes of “Big Sky,” the ABC series adapted from C.J. Box’s book “The Highway,” have been ordered by the network, the author announced on Wednesday.

“For those of you asking if/when #BigSky will be coming back…” the Wyoming author wrote in a post on Wednesday morning, linking to a Deadline article detailing the six episode order.

The additional episodes will bring the series to 16 episodes in total, which is not too shabby for a brand new show premiering in the midst of a pandemic.

The series, created by “Big Little Lies” showrunner David E. Kelley, follows private detective Cassie Dewell, played by Kylie Bunbury, and ex-cop Jenny Hoyt, played by Katheryn Winnick, who join forces to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana.

When they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, they must race against the clock to stop the killer before another woman is taken.

Box previously told a Denver news station that he got the idea for the story from a personal experience, after his daughter came home to Cheyenne from the University of Wyoming for Thanksgiving.

“When she arrived at our house, I went out to check her car and the ‘check engine’ light was on,” he said. “And I asked her, how long has that been on because I knew how much traffic was on that road. And her answer was, ‘Don’t worry, it’s always on.’”

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Joe Pickett TV Series In Works At Paramount

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Another C.J. Box adaptation is headed for the small screen, the Wyoming author announced on Friday.

“Maybe the cat is out of the bag?” Box wrote in a Facebook post that linked to an article from the Calgary Herald which discussed two series that would soon start filming in Canada.

One of the series is “Joe Pickett,” which is being adapted by Paramount Television and will focus on Box’s famous game warden. The other is “Guilty Party,” starring “Underworld” actress Kate Beckinsale.

According to the Herald, both productions will open production offices soon in Calgary and are looking to start work in the first quarter of 2021.

Not much information was given on the Pickett series, although a source told the newspaper that production would likely take place over the summer.

Box has written 20 novels about the game warden, so there will be plenty of content for the series to pull from. This adaptation has been long-discussed and Box told another media outlet last year that Paramount was working on a series starring his most famous character.

This is the second TV adaptation of Box’s work, the most recent being ABC’s “Big Sky,” which focuses on his Cassie Dewell novels. The series premiered in November and will run for a full season.

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C.J. Box On “Big Sky” Premier: “It’s Weird, It’s Exciting, It’s Fun”

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

It’s been 20 years since C.J. Box started writing novels, and he’s been waiting for the time when one of his books would be adapted for the big or small screen.

On Tuesday night, it finally happened. After spending two decades writing nearly 30 books, Box and the rest of the world got to see his characters come to life when “Big Sky” premiered on ABC.

While Box got to see the pilot before everyone else, that doesn’t mean he didn’t still tune in to see the premiere with everyone else.

“It’s weird, it’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s all of those feelings and more,” Box told Cowboy State Daily. “I certainly key in on specific lines of dialogue that I recognize from the book.”

The hour-long pilot introduced many of the characters from Box’s book “The Highway,” which is the first in the series starring Cassie Dewell, played by Kylie Bunbury in the series.

Overall, Box was pleased with the way the characters were introduced over the course of the pilot, but noted that it can be difficult for such a large cast to have fully established personalities in such a short amount of screentime.

The show’s pacing is one thing that’s definitely different for Box compared to his book, but he was expecting that, since the mediums are so different.

The series has already been ordered for a full season on ABC, meaning that viewers will at least get to see how this Cassie Dewell mystery plays out over the course of 10 episodes.

Box did lament the fact that the coronavirus pandemic affected numerous things surrounding the show and his involvement, noting that the series has been filming in Canada (rather than Montana, where it is set) due to the virus.

“I am a little sensitive about the fact that they’re not filming in Montana, but honestly, I thought they did a pretty good job of representing the state,” he said. “I think if you didn’t know the series was being shot in Canada, you wouldn’t recognize it. But I’m sure there are some people from Helena who will point out that it’s not really the town.”

In addition, Box didn’t get to visit the set during filming (and likely won’t before the first season is done filming) or attend the premiere party, which was a little saddening for him.

However, he is ultimately relieved now that the premiere has finally happened. Now, he and the rest of the world can watch as the mystery unfolds (although Box will get to see the episodes a little earlier than the rest of us) over the next nine episodes.

“It was definitely worth the wait,” the author said. “It’s so much better to see an adaptation of the novel instead of them just taking the characters and putting them into a different story. I’m happy they’re sticking with mine.”

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Big Sky Review: Creepy But Very Much Worth The Watching. I Am Anxious For Next Episode

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By Bill Sniffin, publisher

Five stars is the rating that I gave the TV Show Big Sky, which debuted Tuesday, Nov. 17, based on the book by Wyomingite C. J. Box.

Box’s book The Highway was one of the creepiest books I have ever read. It was quite a departure from Box’s traditional stories which are full of intrigue, mayhem, oddball twists and turns, and a big dose of Rocky Mountain lore.

The Highway is all about the scariest of things that can happen in a family – a friend or relative disappears in thin air and it appears that something really bad has happened to them.

I had three friends describe this first TV show as “creepy,” but it was not as sinister as the book.  The first two-thirds of the show also starred the Rocky Mountain West with all the vistas, canyons, mountains, and rivers plus the actors.

The characters were well-defined within the 60 minutes of the first episode, which was quite a trick. There are a whole bunch of them.

Creator David E. Kelley is the master of this genre. His shows Big Little Lies and the Undoing on HBO are classics when it comes to putting interesting people into God-awful situations.  This show is no different. Every single person has issues.  And the show did a good job of revealing them.

The two young girls are silly as they travel from Colorado to Montana. Their car breaks down. A mysterious truck comes along and . . . bad things happen. Really bad things.

Shades of real life. It reminded me of Dale Wayne Eaton and the famous Little Miss murder mystery in Wyoming in 1988.  Eaton raped and killed Lisa Marie Kimmell. He then took her car, a snazzy little Honda CR-X with the license plate “Lil Miss” and buried it in a huge hole on his property near Moneta between Shoshoni and Casper.  Eaton has since been on death row in Wyoming for that crime.

Eaton is also the primary suspect in another crime involving a missing young woman Amy Wroe Bechtel, that occurred outside of Lander in July, 1997. Her body has never been found and Eaton clams up about it, although his brother suspected him of snatching Bechtel, too.

But back to the TV Show.  The cast is full of troubled characters. The lead is a private investigator named Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillippe) who is separated from his wife, who is a former police officer who works with him. Another investigator in the office has a fling with Cody, which results in a classic western bar fight between the two women.  Lots of tension between them.

Cody’s son happens to be the boy in Montana where the two girls are headed.  He calls his dad, who mobilizes all these folks to hunt for the missing girls, including getting an oddball Highway Patrolman up in the middle of the night to help in the search.  This role is played by John Carroll Lynch, who I remember famously as Norm Gunderson in the movie Fargo. In that one, he was the slow-moving husband of the lady Sheriff. A classic role but this time around, he is much more sinister. There is a lot going on inside this guy’s head.

The trucker is a true misfit living with his domineering mother and full of pure evil.  

As in any David E. Kelley show, the whole thing comes together very well.

Spoiler alert – I about fell out of my chair on the last scene when the Highway Patrolman pulls out his gun and shoots Cody in the head. Just like that – poof. Hell, Cody is the leading man in this 10-part series. Is that the last we see of Cody?  Tune in next week.

Because of my admiration for both C. J. Box and David E. Kelley, it is easy to give this show five stars.  Be sure to tune in on ABC and see what happens next Tuesday – I know I will.

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C.J. Box’s TV Show “Big Sky”— Which Debuts on Tuesday — Was Inspired By Personal Experience

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If you’ve been counting down the days until C.J. Box’s TV show “Big Sky” debuts on ABC, we’re down to day number five.

The Wyoming author’s first TV show will be unveiled on Tuesday, Nov. 17 and fans are ready for it.

It’s a creepy story.  So creepy that Box himself was creeped out by the show which is based on his novel “The Highway.”

“The television series will be dark and scary,” Box told Cowboy State Daily. “A lot of people who have read it say it is one of the creepiest things they’ve ever read. The pilot I read scared me, even though I knew what was going to happen.”

It’s always fun to find out how an author gets an idea for a story.

For example, Stephen King came up with the idea for The Shining after spending a night in The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, and dreaming that his son was being chased around the hotel by a firehose.

So how did Box come up with the idea for Big Sky?

Personal experience. Appearing on Denver’s KMGH-TV Thursday, he said his daughter drove back to Cheyenne from the University of Wyoming on Thanksgiving weekend and there was a slight problem with her car.

“When she arrived at our house, I went out to check her car and the ‘check engine’ light was on,” he said. “And I asked her, how long has that been on because I knew how much traffic was on that road. And her answer was, don’t worry, it’s always on.”

A similar scene was captured in the trailer for Big Sky — and it’s, well, creepy.

The show will focus on private detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillipe), who team up with Cody’s estranged wife, Jenny, to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote road in Montana.

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C.J. Box’s “Big Sky” TV Show Trailer Draws 25 Million Views In First 3 Days

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The numbers are in and it seems that people are ready for the mid-November premiere of “Big Sky,” the series adapted from the Cassie Dewell novels of Wyoming author C.J. Box.

According to media reports, a trailer for the upcoming television series was viewed more than 25 million times in the first three days of its upload across multiple social media platforms.

“How big is Big Sky‘s trailer viewership tally of 25.5 million views over three days?” Deadline reported. “For comparison, the top [three] most-watched broadcast trailers at the 2019 upfronts, for ABC’s ‘Stumptown,’ ‘Emergence’ and ‘Mixed-ish,‘ amassed between 14.6 million and 16.1 million views across social media platforms in their first week.”

The trailer actually got most of its views from Twitter, 12.3 million to be exact. The other views came from Facebook (5.9 million), Instagram (4.1 million) and YouTube (3.2 million), totaling 25.5 million.

This is very good news for “Big Sky,” especially when many TV and film productions were shut down by health restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Box shared the good news on his Facebook page, expressing his excitement about the series’ premiere.

“You know who helped make this happen? YOU DID! Let’s keep up the excitement and get ready to tune in Nov. 17th on ABC for #BigSky,” he wrote.

The series has already been ordered by ABC for a full first season.

The show will focus on private detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillipe), who team up with Cody’s estranged wife, Jenny, to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote road in Montana.

The show is being created by TV writer and producer David E. Kelley, who has also created shows such as “Big Little Lies,” “Boston Legal,” “Ally McBeal” and “Mr. Mercedes.” Kelley will write multiple episodes and serve as the showrunner for the first season.

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C.J. Box Posts New Trailer For Upcoming TV Show ‘Big Sky’

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If you are counting down the days before Wyoming author C.J. Box’s TV series “Big Sky” premieres, you only have about a month to go.

The launch date is November 17. To whet your appetite, Box on Tuesday posted the new trailer on his Facebook page. 

“The most beautiful places hide the darkest secrets,” Box said.

Although the video starts up happy and upbeat with two young girls singing while they’re driving up to Montana, it quickly takes a dark turn when their car overheats at night (of course) and someone bashes in one of the car’s windows just as one girl says “lock the door.”

And it’s all downhill from there.

The TV show is based on C.J. Box’s 2013 novel “The Highway” which is about a long-haul trucker who is a serial killer.

Last year, Box told Cowboy State Daily the book is “the creepiest thing I ever wrote.”

“The television series will be dark and scary,” Box said. “A lot of people who have read it say it is one of the creepiest things they’ve ever read. The pilot I read scared me, even though I knew what was going to happen.”

The show is being created by TV writer and producer David E. Kelley, who has also created shows such as “Big Little Lies,” “Boston Legal,” “Ally McBeal” and “Mr. Mercedes.” Kelley will write multiple episodes and serve as the showrunner for the first season.

Box will act as an executive producer on the series.

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C.J. Box “Big Sky” Series To Premiere In November

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The television series adapted from C.J. Box’s Cassie Dewell novels, “Big Sky,” will premiere in November, ABC announced this weekend.

“Big Sky” will premiere on Nov. 17 on ABC. The company also released two more teaser trailers, although they were longer than the two released in August.

The series has already been ordered for a full first season, so fans will get the opportunity to see how the mystery plays out over those episodes.

The show will focus on private detectives Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) and Cody Hoyt (Ryan Phillipe), who team up with Cody’s estranged wife, Jenny, to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote road in Montana.

The detectives soon find out those aren’t the only girls who have disappeared, beginning a race against time to stop the killer.

The first new teaser shows Hoyt speaking with a police officer about how he’s searching for two missing girls (who are seen being abducted) while the song “Stand by Me” plays over the background, menacingly.

The second teaser more prominently features Dewell and Hoyt investigating the abductions, as well as uncovering a deeper mystery.

The show is being created by TV writer and producer David E. Kelley, who has also created shows such as “Big Little Lies,” “Boston Legal,” “Ally McBeal” and “Mr. Mercedes.” Kelley will write multiple episodes and serve as the showrunner for the first season.

Box will act as an executive producer on the series.

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More Details About C.J. Box’s TV Series Announced

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For those of you interested in Wyoming author CJ Box’s new TV show this fall (we are), Box  released more details on his Facebook page.

Although ABC network execs haven’t announced when the series will start, “Big Sky” will air on Tuesday nights.

The show is centered around the character Cassie Dewell. If you want more background on her and the other characters in the story, you should read Box’s book “The Highway”.

Dewel, Box says, will be played by Kylie Bunbury while Cody Hoyt will be played by Ryan Phillippe.

For more cast information, check this out.

TV writing is different from book writing, Box said, and that means he’s not involved in the day-to-day production.

“Television, unlike novel writing, is a collaborative process involving producers, writers, and actors,” Box said.

“David E. Kelley is the consummate professional with an unbelievable track record (Big Little Lies, Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, The Practice, Ally Mcbeal and many others).  We trust him.  Or, in other words, our ‘input’ is to provide the source material,” he said.

As for rumors about a Joe Picket series or movie, Box said just wait a bit.

“There will be a very exciting announcement this winter or spring that we can’t yet discuss.  But watch this space,” he said.

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C.J. Box Says “Big Sky” Series Still On Track For Fall ABC Debut

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

The coronavirus pandemic has put a hold on a number of movies and TV shows, but C.J. Box’s “The Big Sky” isn’t one of them.

Box announced the development Friday on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, posting a link to a Deadline story that showed “The Big Sky” would get a full first season commitment, when it was originally commissioned just for a pilot episode.

“Still on track for this fall on ABC…,” Box wrote in his Facebook post.

The show is being created by legendary TV writer and producer David E. Kelley, who has also created shows such as “Big Little Lies,” “Boston Legal,” “Ally McBeal” and “Mr. Mercedes.” Kelley will write multiple episodes and serve as the showrunner for the first season.

The show will focus on private detectives Cassie Dewell and Cody Hoyt, who team up with Cody’s estranged wife, Jenny, to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote road in Montana. The detectives soon find out those aren’t the only girls who have disappeared, racing against time to stop the killer.

The cast will inculde Kylie Bunbury as Cassie Dewell, Katheryn Winnick as Jenny Hoyt and Ryan Phillippe as Cody Hoyt.

“(The television series will) be dark and scary,” Box said in an interview February. “A lot of people who have read it say it is one of the creepiest things they’ve ever read. The pilot I read scared me, even though I knew what was going to happen.”

Box will act as an executive producer on the series, as well.

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C.J. Box Thanks Wyoming Citizens For Prodding Legislature to Approve Lodging Tax

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New York Times bestselling author and Wyoming native C.J. Box on Friday thanked Wyoming citizens for convincing the Wyoming Legislature to approve a 5% statewide lodging tax.

In an email from the Wyoming Office of Tourism, Box said the new tax will “usher in a new era” for tourism in Wyoming.

“Although it was a very hard-fought battle and the legislation is far from perfect, it should allow for increased funding for our state and the excellent team led by [Tourism Office Executive Director] Diane Shober.

Box, the newly-installed Chairman of the Wyoming Office of Tourism Board of Directors, said passage of the new tax was a significant achievement for Wyoming’s second largest industry and largest employer.

“Gov. Gordon identified the new bill as the only tax he would support is further proof of our clout and importance,” he said. “Feel free to take a bow.”

Box has been prolific during the pandemic urging citizens on social media channels to support local businesses like restaurants by using curbside service.

“We want to do our part in keeping local restaurants open so we order curbside meals every night and tip generously,” he said in a YouTube video.

As for the prospects of Wyoming tourism during the pandemic, Shober, in an interview with Cowboy State Daily on Thursday, was cautiously optimistic stating that it was too early to tell if the pandemic would significantly impact tourism.

“This summer will be critical,” she said. “This is an export economy. People coming here from other places helps offset our revenues across our cities, counties and state.” 

Polls have shown the pandemic took a significant toll on the public’s desire to travel this summer, but a month or more of staying at home could change that, she said.

C.J. Box’s “The Highway” to Become Television Series

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By Mike McCrimmon, Cowboy State Daily

A book by Wyoming author C.J. Box will be turned into a television series by ABC, Box has announced.

In an exclusive interview with Cowboy State Daily, C. J. Box said his book “The Highway” will be turned into a series called “The Big Sky.”

Box called “The Highway,” about a long-haul trucker who is a serial killer, the “creepiest thing I ever wrote.”

“(The television series will) be dark and scary,” he said. “A lot of people who have read it say it is one of the creepiest things they’ve ever read. The pilot I read scared me, even though I knew what was going to happen.”

Filming for the series is to begin in March and resume in the summer.

Box is known for his “Joe Pickett” novels about a game warden in Wyoming, but “The Highway” focuses on a private investigator from Montana.

The rights to a number of Box’s books have been purchased for production, he said, but none have resulted in a movie or television series until “The Highway.”

“Actually, (it’s) kind of gotten comfortable, into a groove, where these people in Hollywood give me money and don’t make anything,” he said. “And it’s not so bad.”

Box said he hopes the series leads to increased book sales.

“If there’s a series, it’s great advertising for the book,” he said. “It’s not as lucrative as it used to be in entertainment, because there’s a million TV channels and streaming services. But with this network show, that will get a lot of eyeballs and hopefully some of those people will be interested in reading the book.”

Executive Producer of the upcoming series, David E. Kelley told Variety that “…the series is described as a procedural thriller about private detective Cassie Dewell, who partners with ex-cop Jenny Hoyt on a search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana. But when they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, they must race against the clock to stop the killer before another woman is taken.”

C.J. Box has been outspoken about luring production companies into Wyoming. Last year, he was disappointed with the Wyoming State Legislature for its failure to pass a bill which would provide incentives for companies to shoot films in Wyoming.

Acclaimed author says Legislature may have missed opportunity with film incentive vote

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Wyoming’s Legislature may have missed an opportunity by killing a proposed film incentive program, according to an acclaimed Wyoming author.

“I would certainly say so,” said C.J. Box, a Saratoga resident. “Also, for no good reason. They’re not spending any money.”

Box is the author of the popular “Joe Pickett” book series, which focuses on the crime solving activities of a Wyoming game warden. He was in Cheyenne last week to argue for HB 164, which would create a film incentive program for companies spending more than $200,000 in Wyoming.

The bill fell one vote short of winning approval from Wyoming’s House.

Supporters argued that other states with incentive programs often become the sites for the filming of stories set in Wyoming, such as the “Longmire” series based on the works of Wyoming author Craig Johnson.

Box is working with Paramount Television to develop a television series based on his Pickett novels and he said without an incentive program, it will be very difficult to get production companies to even consider Wyoming.

“There’s no guarantee it would be filmed in Wyoming, but it is probably less likely it will even be considered without any kind of incentive,” he said.

The bill would have created a program allowing the Wyoming Office of Tourism to reimburse production companies for up to 15 percent of their expenses while filming in Wyoming if they spent at least $200,000.

The program would have been financed in part with carryover funds from the Office of Tourism and the bill carried no request for additional state money.

“I don’t see a downside, especially to that bill,” Box said. “There was not one dime set against it. I’m trying to figure out what kind of reasoning there would be. So many of our legislators say they want a growing and diversified economy.”

While not as large an incentive program as those available in some other states, the plan would have been a good first step for luring productions to Wyoming, Box said, which in turn would have helped create an experienced workforce for film production.

“That’s what happened in New Mexico, to the point that Netflix is building a production studio there,” he said.

Box had hoped the program might be in place in time for Wyoming to be considered a filming location for the Joe Pickett series, which takes place in locations around the state.

“I’ll be honest and say I’d love to see it filmed in Wyoming,” he said. “(The series) moves around the entire state, from Jackson to the Red Desert. The last book was set in Saratoga. There’s a possibility the whole state could get some benefit from it.”

Wyoming launched a film incentive program in 2007, but it was allowed to expire in 2011.

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