Nellie Andreeva

The CW today gave the green light to three more drama pilots: J.J. Abrams and Mark Schwahn’s Shelter; Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain’s The Selection; and Bert Royal’s Joey Dakota, which has Mark Harmon executive producing. That brings the total number of hourlong pilots picked up at the CW this year to eight, which is at the high end of projections and a record for the 6-year-old network. The CW also re-entered the comedy arena this development season with several scripts. Word is that the network still may order 1-2 half-hour pilots, but they will likely be off-cycle.

Shelter, written by One Tree Hill creator/showrunner Schwahn and produced by Warner Bros TV, is set at a historic New England summer resort where the new and returning staff attend to the practical, emotional and often comical needs of the guests while navigating friendships, rivalries and romances of their own. WME-repped Abrams and Schwahn are executive producing through their companies Bad Robot and Mastermind Laboratories, along with Bad Robot’s Bryan Burk. This marks Abrams’ first project at the CW. It reunites him with CW president Mark Pedowitz and EVP Development Thom Sherman, who worked with him at ABC and ABC Studios. Most recently, Pedowitz was president of ABC Studios, where Abrams was under an overall deal before moving to WBTV in 2006, and Sherman ran Abrams’ production company Bad Robot for two years before joining the CW, also in 2006. This also marks a homecoming of sorts for Abrams, who started his TV career on the CW predecessor The WB with Felicity.
Craft and Fain’s The Selection, which until recently had flown under the radar, also hails from WBTV. Based on the forthcoming series of books by Kiera Cass, it is described as an epic romance set 300 years in the future that centers on a poor young woman who is chosen by lottery to participate in a competition to become the next queen of a war-torn nation at a crossroads.

Royal’s romantic time-travel musical Joey Dakota is based on the successful Israeli half-hour series Danny Hollywood. It centers on a documentary filmmaker who travels back in time to the 1990s, where she meets and falls in love with the rock-star subject of her film. When she unexpectedly returns to present day, she must find her way back to the past to reunite with her love and prevent his untimely death. Easy A writer Royal penned the adaptation and is executive producing with Harmon, Eric & Kim Tannenbaum and Martha Haight for CBS TV Studios and studio based Harmon/-Tannenbaum Co., a production entity Harmon and the Tannenbaums use for their joint projects. Danny Hollywood is distributed internationally by Armoza Formats (NBC’s Who’s Still Standing?). Both formats were sold in the U.S. by Paradigm, which also reps Royal. This is the second broadcast pilot based on an Israeli format this season, along with NBC’s adaptation of mystery drama Timrot Ashan, aka Pillars Of Smoke.

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