How 60 Minutes helped inspire “Unforgettable" crime show

Producers and actors of the CBS crime show "Unforgettable" talk about the 60 Minutes story that helped inspire their show

Three years ago, Lesley Stahl’s first story about “memory wizards,” people who remember almost every day of their lives in graphic detail, aired on the 60 Minutes broadcast. The Monday after the story aired, phones were ringing off the hook at the offices of the California-based scientists who study HSAM (Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory). Nearby, phones were also ringing in the office of two Hollywood producers.

 Ed Redlich and John Bellucci had written a pilot for a CBS show called “Unforgettable” about a female cop with a superior memory. Their script had essentially been shelved by the network after trouble casting the lead role, and the producers feared that their project was losing steam. Redlich and Bellucci say they wrote the pilot for “Unforgettable” before the 60 Minutes piece aired, but the 60 Minutes story was the spark they needed to launch the show.  “It energized the network and it certainly energized us,” says Redlich.

Soon, actress Poppy Montgomery was cast in the lead role of “Carrie,” and CBS debuted the show the following year. In the above video player, Redlich, Bellucci and actress Poppy Montgomery take 60 Minutes behind-the-scenes on the set of “Unforgettable.”

“Unforgettable” is expected to return for a third season this summer on CBS.

Sarah Huisenga contributed to the reporting of this 60 Minutes Overtime feature.

Credit: Footage from the CBS program “Unforgettable” courtesy of Sony Pictures Television