(RE-POSTED FROM FRIDAY): Back by popular demand: Deadline’s Pilot Buzz lists. We’re earlier than normal this year while pilots have generally been late, with only a handful of them having cuts by now and the vast majority still in various stages of production. Therefore, everything on this list has to be taken with a gigantic grain of salt as a lot could change between a table read and a final cut. Take NBC’s comedy pilot SAVE ME for example. After some mixed and even negative chatter early on, mostly related to the tone of the show, originally developed for Showtime, the tide changed completely over the last two days when people saw the completed pilot, which is getting high marks. The list also doesn’t cover every pilot as some of them have not gotten into production yet or feedback has been insufficient:
The network already has one new scripted series on tap for next season, HANNIBAL, which I hear may go for midseason. With the network in such bad shape after years of neglect and bad decisions by previous regimes, NBC seems to have cast a very wide net this season, developing a vast range of projects that are all over the map, making it harder to handicap. On the drama side, mystery MIDNIGHT SUN and the Jekyll & Hyde-esque DO NO HARM are getting some solid early buzz. The Jason Katims/Jason Ritter medical drama COUNTY, which just wrapped, also has been getting positive feedback. Western-esque THE FRONTIER, which is shooting in Australia, is getting notices for its rich look. Comedy-wise, ANIMAL KINGDOM is hot, as is White House family comedy 1600 PENN, despite a last-minute recasting, as well as the Matthew Perry starrer GO ON and Greg Daniels’ FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER. The network also is high on a couple of multi-camera comedies, the untitled KARI LIZER and JIMMY FALLON projects, with TABLE FOR THREE also looking encouraging so far. The Ryan Murphy/Ali Adler blended family comedy THE NEW NORMAL is still shooting but, with the auspices involved, it is considered a strong contender. NBC brass seem to like the SARAH SILVERMAN pilot, which had an early order, but Silverman is considered acquired taste, so a lot will depend on testing.
The KEVIN WILLIAMSON project was very strong at the script stage, got even stronger with the casting of Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy, and seems to be sailing through production. Meanwhile the untitled KARYN USHER teen-spy drama, which also was an early standout during the script phase, then hit a speed bump in casting the lead, which took a very long time, now appears to be in great shape, with newcomer Saxon Sharbino getting strong reviews. The Williamson and Karyn projects seem to be the top drama contenders at the moment, with Fox’s other female CIA agent pilot, THE ASSET, right behind them and GUILTY and BERMAN/WRIGHT further down at the moment. Off-cycle pilot LITTLE BROTHER, whose plug almost got pulled after difficulties casting one of the leads, is making early waves on the comedy side. I hear Fox brass are impressed by John Stamos and his chemistry with TJ Miller. Also getting solid early buzz is the comedy EL JEFE, about a privileged young man moving in with his Latina nanny, and the MINDY KALING medical office comedy, mostly because of its star/creator Kaling. I’ve been hearing some mixed early buzz on half-hour pilots LIKE FATHER and LIVING LOADED, but with A-list auspices Bill Lawrence and Rob McElhenney behind them, judgement has to be held until they are completed.
High-profile drama pilots RALPH LAMB and ELEMENTARY look very good early on. In addition to strong buzz, period drama Ralph Lamb boasts a cast that includes Dennis Quaid, Michael Chiklis, Jason O’Mara, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Elementary already has fans buzzing about the tweaks the network is making to the classic Sherlock Holmes franchise with this contemporary update. Despite the difficulties casting the lead (Rachelle Lefevre eventually got the role in second position to A Gifted Man), I hear mom-turned-PI drama pilot APPLEBAUM has strong support at the network, with another female procedural, the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced TROOPER, about a mom-turned-state trooper, also getting early buzz. On the comedy side, after a casting tweak after the table read, PARTNERS looks good, while reaction to DORF/FALCONE has been mixed. Most of CBS’ comedy pilot are very late, so not much intel here.
Like NBC, ABC may already have a series for next season. Soap MISTRESSES, which was ordered straight-to-series for summer 2013, is filming a pilot episode with the regular ABC pilots, and I hear it will get consideration for launch next season, which is what ABC did with midseason entry Missing, originally ordered for summer. When Mistresses will premiere may depend on how ABC’s five soapy pilots, SCRUPLES, AMERICANA, NASHVILLE, DEVIOUS MAIDS and GILDED LILYS turn out. So far, I hear strong buzz on Gilded Lilys, though all five boast top auspices and/or big-name actors. ABC’s fantasy/supernatural pilots 666 PARK AVE, GOTHAM and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST look in good shape early on, especially 666 Park Ave, which is hot. The question is whether the network will pick up only one of them as a companion for Once Upon A Time. In the testosterone minority of ABC’s drama slate, the Shawn Ryan/Karl Gajdusek’s LAST RESORT is showing promise, while buzz on the Roland Emmerich/Harold Kloser project has been mixed. On the comedy side, PRAIRIE DOGS, the raunchy AWESOMETOWN and Claudia Lonow’s family comedy HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE are getting strong early buzz. Also, Reba McEntire is a big audience draw, making her sitcom MALIBU COUNTRY an automatic contender.
If there is such thing as sure thing so early, the CW’s ARROW and THE CARRIE DIARIES would be it. They have pre-sold titles and are already making a lot of noise. Both were solid pre-production, received mostly favorable reaction to the fist images of the title characters released last month, and the strong buzz continues. Another pilot with a instantly recognizable title, BEAUTY & THE BEAST, also has been garnering buzz, while medical drama FIRST CUT has had people raving about Meryl Streep’s daughter Mamie Gummer who plays the lead. And then there is a pilot, whose chances improved over the last two weeks for reasons completely unrelated to the actual pilot — THE SELECTION. In picking it up, the network took a page from its own playbook several years ago, when, on the heels of the success of the first Twilight movie, the network ordered to pilot the similarly-themed Vampire Diaries. This year, the CW did the same with the Hunger Games-esque THE SELECTION in anticipation that the movie would be big. The film indeed has been an instant smash, boosting the chances of The Selection.
TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.