With the networks wrapping up their internal screenings, pilots are entering the final stretch when executives factor in testing and testing results as well as scheduling needs to make their picks for next fall. Here is the latest buzz on which pilots are still in contention:
Besides the Steven Spielberg-produced dinosaur fantasy Terra Nova, which is prepping for a midseason launch, Fox may pick up only one or two more new drama series, especially if it renews one of its bubble drama series Human Target or Lie To Me. (Human Target is looking a little stronger at the moment.) Midland appears a lock for the one slot, with a possible launch behind Fox’s flagship drama House a possibility. Breakout Kings and Shawn Ryan’s Ridealong would duke it out for the potential second slot.
On the comedy side, Greg Garcia’s Keep Hope Alive and Mitch Hurwitz’s Wilde Kingdom have emerged as frontrunners, with Traffic Light and Breaking In (form. Security) also in the running, along with Most Likely To Succeed.
The network already picked up dramas Undercovers, The Event and Chase, hourlong anthology romantic comedy Love Bites and comedy Outsourced. With Law & Order: Los Angeles also on deck, I hear the drama pilots still in the running at the network include The Cape, Rockford Files and Kindreds. Neither is a slam-dunk but has strong chances for a pickup. The Cape was very well received but is a genre piece which always has its risks. The project is looking to lock in John Wirth as showrunner. Rockford Files has had a rocky run with a major reediting but its pedigree and high profile will probably be enough for a series order. Ditto on David E. Kelley’s Kindreds, which, outside of an overwhelming praise of Kathy Bates’ performance, has drawn mixed reactions at the network. Garza has an outside chance.
On the comedy side, there was a somewhat surprising omission in NBC’s Friday pickup UMS-produced series when hot comedy Perfect Couples didn’t make the list. I hear it’s because NBC is considering it alongside another relationship-themed comedy pilot, Friends with Benefits that the network is also high on. Also in contention are Paul Reiser’s Next and the Matthew Broderick starrer Beach Lane, with early frontrunner This Little Piggy still hanging in there but continuing to slide down on the buzzmeter.
Hawaii Five-0 is as good as on-the-air, with legal drama Defenders still very strong, along with Chaos and a rising dark horse, the John Wells-produced untitled medical drama, which is gaining buzz. Meanwhile, there continue to be mixed signals on the Criminal Minds spinoff, which remains in contention, possibly for midseason.
On the comedy side, besides Mike & Molly, whose slot on the schedule is assured, Team Spitz and Bleep My Dad Said are strong, with Mad Love (form. True Love) and Livin’ on a Prayer also still in contention.
It’s still pretty murky on the drama side at ABC with No Ordinary Family, Detroit 187, Generation Y, The Whole Truth, Body of Proof and Off The Map all still in contention.
The untitled couples pilot and Mr. Sunshine appear the strongest contenders on the comedy side, with Happy EndingsWright Vs. Wrong and also in the running and Awkward Situations For Men, Who Gets the Parents and It Takes a Village also a possibility.
Besides Nikita, which is a go, cheerleading drama Hellcats is also considered a frontrunner, with HMS and Betwixt in contention.
TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.