ABC Studios and ABC have inked a third consecutive deal with director-producer Michael Fresco for him to direct and executive produce a pilot next year. Fresco just completed ABC/ABC Studios’ Jeff Lowell pilot and previously has helmed the pilots for Fox’s Raising Hope and ABC’s Better Off Ted and Suburgatory. He is repped by Paul Alan Smith at ESA.
EXCLUSIVE: From bros on Fox’s Enlisted to cuz-bros in a CBS pilot. Parker Young is set as the co-lead opposite his Enlisted co-star Geoff Stults in CBS’ multi-camera odd-couple comedy pilot Cuz-Bros, from writers David Caspe and Erik Sommers, Sony TV, CBS Studios and Fanfare. It centers on Nick (Stults), a successful, suave ladies man working as a sportscaster for a local Los Angeles TV station whose perfect life gets turned upside down when his mess of a cousin, Barry (Young), needs a place to stay. Barry is sweet, clueless and naive with an uncanny ability to say/do the wrong thing at the wrong time, even though he means really well. Both Stults and Young are cast in second position to Enlisted, which has been pulled after a low-rated midseason run on Fridays and is not expected to come back. That series revolves around three brothers (Stults, Young, Chris Lowell) in the Army. Young, who also has a recurring role on ABC’s Suburgatory, is repped by Gersh and David Dean Management.
Related: 2014 CBS Pilots
It is very difficult for showrunners to wrap production on a season without knowing if their series would get another season. Unfortunately, that is the nature of the network business, and about two dozen shows go though that every year. Here is a look at each network’s comedy and drama series in peril and their odds for survival.
With all the drama carnage at ABC this season (Lucky 7, Betrayal, Killer Women, Mind Games, The Assets), the network is pretty lean on the hourlong side, and all shows currently on the air have a good shot at coming back. That includes two freshman series, fall drama Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., despite slipping in the ratings, and midseason entry Resurrection. Of returning dramas, there is no doubt about renewals for Shonda Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy, especially with stars Ellen Pompeo and Patrick Dempsey signed on, and Scandal, as well as Castle and Once Upon A Time. While it was heavily on the bubble last season, country music drama Nashville appears in a stronger position this spring and looks likely to continue. And, despite its ratings erosion, Revenge remains a signature, upscale drama for ABC that the network also owns. Because of its heavy mythology with a revenge storyline that has been central to the show since the pilot, it is unlikely that ABC would abruptly end the series without giving it a final chapter to wrap things up.
Things are far murkier on the comedy side where there are three shoe-ins, anchors Modern Family and The Middle and freshman The Goldbergs. None of these hail from ABC’s sister studio, and building a steady comedy pipeline at ABC Studios has been important for the overall health of the company. There are three ABC Studios-produced comedy series on ABC at the moment, all on the bubble: freshmen Trophy Wife and Mixology and sophomore The Neighbors. The network will likely renew at least one comedy from its own studio. (Last year, it picked The Neighbors vs. 20th TV’s How To Live With Your Parents.) Of the three, Trophy Wife seems to have the biggest support and is the most promotable, with a star cast led by Malin Akerman and Bradley Whitford. But the name cast also makes Trophy Wife the most expensive, and its ratings are pretty soft. The Neighbors, which comes from prominent Disney writer Dan Fogelman, costs way less, and, while only doing so-so on Fridays, it could deliver something ABC Studios has not seen in a while: a third-year comedy. (Fogelman also has comedy pilot Galavant in the running at ABC.) Then there is Mixology, which has not done well behind Modern Family. It stands out with its unusual structure — set in a bar over the course of one night — it has quickly built a core fan base and has supporters at ABC. But relaunching a heavily serialized comedy in the fall four months after a brief midseason run would be a challenge and growing ratings for such a show with a continues storyline would be very difficult. ABC has a recent history of sticking with narrow, quirky relationship comedies like Happy Endings and Don’t Trust the B—- but all were eventually cancelled. 20th TV’s Last Man Standing starring Tim Allen is quietly wrapping its third season. It has done a decent job as a Friday 8 PM anchor and is ABC’s only multi-camera series. With several high-proile multi-camera pilots, the network could use Last Man Standing as a building block. (How about Allen paired with another comedy vet, Henry Winkler of The Winklers?).
ABC has announced the finale dates for its current series. The Neighbors is the first to close out the season on April 11 and The Middle, Modern Family and Mixology are the last to wrap on May 21. Here is the full list:
Friday, April 11
8:31-9 PM The Neighbors
Thursday, April 17
10-11 PM Scandal
Friday, April 25
8-8:31 PM Last Man Standing
Here is Deadline’s annual list of The Overachievers Of Pilot Season. For anyone, landing a pilot is a major accomplishment. These selected few individuals/production companies took that achievement to the next level.
Related: Primetime Pilot Panic!
With marquee comedy clients including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Kevin Hart, 3 Arts has been building a strong TV production business. The management/production company has set a new personal record this season with nine greenlights. That includes one straight-to-series order for the Tina Fey/Robert Carlock comedy Tooken at NBC, one pilot/series track order at Fox for Cabot College, from Matt Hubbard, Fey and Carlock, and five more pilots: the comedies untitled Kevin Hart project at ABC, Amy Poehler’s Old Soul and Love Is Relative at NBC and Tom Papa’s More Time With the Family at CBS, plus untitled Richard LaGravenese drama at ABC. Additionally, three 3 Arts pilots from last season, Mulaney and Mr. Robinson, recently received series orders for next season.
Amblin TV has one pilot/series track order at Fox for drama Red Band Society, starring Octavia Spencer, and pilot orders for drama The Visitors at ABC and comedy The Money Pit at NBC. Additionally, the company scored a straight-to-series order this season for sci-fi drama Extant, which landed Halle Berry as the lead, for a summer launch.
Related: PILOT SEASON: How Many Orders Is Each Broadcast Network Eyeing This Year
Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly‘s Timberman-Beverly has a straight-to-series order at ABC for untitled David O. Russell/Susannah Grant drama and three pilots at CBS, comedy The Odd Couple starring Matthew Perry and untitled John Cusack and David Marshall Grant drama projects.
Aaron Kaplan‘s one-man indie shop Kapital Entertainment landed a pilot order with series penalty at ABC for Secrets & Lies, toplined by Ryan Phillippe, and pilot orders for drama The Mysteries of Laura starring Debra Messing at NBC and comedy Dead Boss starring Jane Krakowski at Fox.
Actor-comedian-musician Nick Thune is set as the young male lead opposite Natasha Lyonne in NBC‘s single-camera comedy pilot Old Soul. Co-created by Amy Poehler, Josh Bycel and Jonathan Fener and directed by David Wain, Old Soul centers on a reformed wild child, Nadia (Lyonne), who has a business caring for the elderly and feels she has more in common with her colorful old clients than she does with people her age. Thune, repped by 3 Arts and WME, will play Nadia’s roommate and friend who shares her offbeat sense of humor.
Related: 2014 NBC Pilots
Doctor Who‘s Karen Gillan has been cast as the lead in ABC/Warner Bros. TV single-camera comedy pilot Selfie. Julie Anne Robinson is set to direct the pilot from Suburgatory creator/executive producer Emily Kapnek. It centers on Eliza Dooley (Gillan), a self-obsessed, twentysomething who is more concerned with “likes” than being liked. After suffering a very public and humiliating breakup, she becomes the subject of a viral video and suddenly has more social media “followers” than she ever imagined — but for all the wrong reasons. She enlists the help of a marketing expert at her company to help repair her tarnished image. Scotland native Gillan, best known for her role as Amy Pond on the long-running British sci-fi drama Doctor Who, recently recurred on the Adult Swim comedy NTSF:SD:SUV. Repped by UTA and Troika, she next stars in the features Guardians Of The Galaxy and Oculus. Robinson, repped by UTA, 3 Arts and UK’s Independent Talent Group, has directed multiple episodes of Kapnek’s current ABC/WBTV comedy series Suburgatory. She also helmed the pilots of two ABC comedy series, The Middle, produced by WBTV, and How To Live With Your Parents.
Related: 2014 ABC Pilots
Miss Deadline’s top TV stories? Catch up on the week now:
Bob Costas Returns To Sochi Olympics Coverage Monday (Photo)
By Lisa De Moraes – Bob Costas returned to the NBC Olympics studios at the International Broadcast Center in Sochi, Russia, today to prepare to resume his primetime and late night hosting duties tomorrow night.
‘Snake Salvation’ Star Dead From Snake Bite; NatGeo To Air Tribute Episode
By Jen Yamato – With the first season fully filmed National Geographic had no plans for a second season of Snake Salvation, says a network rep. Now in the wake of Jamie Coots‘ death NatGeo is working up a special tribute episode “so people can understand Pastor Jamie and his method of worship and see that he died doing what he believed was his calling.”
Actors Added To Fox’s Matt Hubbard, ABC’s Jeff Lowell Comedy Pilots
By Nellie Andreeva – Ely Henry (Suburgatory) and Asif Ali have been cast as leads in Cabot College, Fox‘s multi-camera comedy pilot from Matt Hubbard, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.
R.I.P. ‘The Waltons’ Patriarch Ralph Waite
By The Deadline Team – The man who played the patriarch on CBS’ long-running series The Waltons has died. Ralph Waite was 85. He also had been recurring since 2008 as Papa Gibbs, the father of Mark Harmon’s character, on NCIS.
Greta Gerwig To Topline CBS’ ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Spinoff
By Nellie Andreeva – Indie darling Greta Gerwig will lead the cast of How I Met Your Dad, CBS’ spinoff from long-running comedy series How I Met Your Mother.
Ely Henry (Suburgatory) and Asif Ali have been cast as leads in Cabot College, Fox‘s multi-camera comedy pilot from Matt Hubbard, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock. Directed by Pam Fryman, the comedy is set at a women’s college that begins accepting men for the first time. Henry, repped by David Dean Management, and Ali, repped by David Shapira & Assoc. and Aligned Entertainment, will play two of the four male freshmen recently admitted to Cabot College.
You can’t have an Entourage movie without Ari Gold and you can’t have the bellowing superagent without his assistant Lloyd. Jeremy Piven has been in place to reprise his role from the HBO series in the Warner Bros pic for awhile and now Rex Lee has formally signed on to join him on the big screen. The actor’s deal for the Entourage movie closed last week around the same time that Perrey Reeves inked her deal to return as Mrs Ari. Lee joined Piven, Reeves, Adrian Grenier and the other core cast for their first table read on January 30. The actor first appeared in Season 2 of the TV series, which ran from 2004 – 2011, in a guest-starring role but soon became an essential regular. The film, which successfully brought back the core cast from the series despite a salary standoff last year, is directed by series creator Doug Ellin. Lee is also going to be appearing in the upcoming ABC Family series Young & Hungry, along with Emily Osment and executive produced by Ashley Tisdale. Lee previously co-starred on ABC’s Suburgatory for two seasons until his exit last May. Rex Lee is repped by APA, Thruline Entertainment and attorney James Feldman
Awkward creator Lauren Iungerich is back on pilot duty with a pickup at ABC for her comedy Damaged Goods, which had a pilot production commitment. It is one of two pilot orders to single-camera comedies from female creators at ABC this morning, along with the My Fair Lady-esque Selfie, by Suburgatory creator Emily Kapnek. With Suburgatory not doing well with its rebooted third season, tying a series low last night, is ABC eyeing a successor in Selfie? Both pilots hail from Warner Bros TV, where Kapnek is under an overall deal through her Piece Of Pie Prods. and Iungerich had a script deal. Damaged Goods is described as a comedy about the sexual politics that have changed between men and women in this post-feminist era.
Related: ABC Pilots 2014
Inspired by My Fair Lady, Selfie tells the story of a self-obsessed twentysomething woman who is more concerned with “likes” than being liked. After suffering a very public and humiliating breakup, she becomes the subject of a viral video and suddenly has more social media “followers” than she ever imagined — but for all the wrong reasons. She enlists the help of a marketing expert at her company to help repair her tarnished image. This brings the number of ABC comedy pilots to 11.