With CBS’ pickup for the frontrunners on the drama side, Person of Interest, and comedy side, Two Broke Girls, the next tier of contenders are rising to frontrunner status. The two locks on the hourling side seem to be ensemble cop drama ROOKIES and procedural THE REMEMBERER, with HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN the top dog on the comedy side. I hear CBS brass are split over an early favorite, the SUSANNAH GRANT medical drama, though odds still seem to be in its favor. Meanwhile, another early favorite, PI show HAIL MARY, has been the subject of contradicting rumors over the past day or so — from “it’s a pass” to “it’s going.” But the pilot’s fortunes have definitely fallen, so it no longer seems to be a sure thing. Depending on how many comedies it brings back, CBS may pick up another comedy pilot to series, possibly PETER KNIGHT. In addition to the already renewed Big Bang, Two and a Half Men, HIMYM and sure-to-be-renewed Mike & Molly, CBS is expected to pick up veteran Rules of Engagement, with a retooled $#*! My Dad Says a (small) possibility too.
How many new comedy series with a female lead were picked up last May? Zero. How many have been picked up so far this season? Every single one. All four new comedy series ordered so far by Fox and NBC this season have female leads. That is how many the four broadcast networks combined have on the air this season: NBC’s 30 Rock starring Tina Fey and Parks and Recreation starring Amy Poehler, and ABC’s The Middle starring Patricia Heaton and Cougar Town starring Courteney Cox. Half of those were created by women. All four of the newly picked series come from female creators. While not at 100%, female-centered series are also dominant on the drama side. One of the two new Fox dramas, Alcatraz, has a female lead, Sarah Jones, and was co-written by a female writer, Liz Sarnoff. Of the two NBC drama pickups, one is the female-centered Prime Suspect starring Maria Bello and written by Alexandra Cunningham and the other the female-skewing Smash, which has two leads, one played by Debra Messing. And the two locks at ABC are all about ladies (though penned by male writers), Charlie’s Angels and Good Christian Bitches.
The four newly picked up half-hour series will probably be joined by 3-4 more for a complete domination of the freshman comedy class of 2011 the way ensemble relationship comedies were all the craze last year. What’s more, it looks like as many as three new comedy series are two-female lead shows.
UPDATE 5:30 PM: And we’re done. Word is that NBC won’t be making more series pickups beyond the four shows from in-house studio UMS, thus prolonging the agony of producers awaiting word on the fate of their pilots until tomorrow. Also, I hear that the UMS-produced pilots that didn’t get a nod today are not necessarily dead, with dramas Grimm and Reconstruction said to be alive, and possibly comedies Bent, Parham/St. Clair and Dan Goor.
UPDATE 5:20 PM: The Emily Spivey comedy, starring Christina Applegate as a professional woman and new mom, is now officially a go as a series order with a new name, Up All Night.
PREVIOUS 4:55 PM: NBC opened its own pickup season today with a series order to the untitled Whitney Cummings comedy pilot, now titled Whitney, a romantic comedy created by and starring the racy comedienne; the Broadway-themed Smash, exec produced by Steven Spielberg and starring Debra Messing; and Prime Suspect, a Maria Bello-starring adaptation of the classic British series. A pickup of the untitled Emily Spivey comedy starring Christina Applegate is also said to be under way. It seems like NBC is starting off by ordering the projects from its own studios (all four pilots above are from UMS) before moving onto outside suppliers, such as 20th TV, which has hot dramas REM and The Playboy Club as well as Metro, which is also in contention, and Warner Bros, which has the Chelsea Handler comedy in contention, while its Wonder Woman appears doubtful and Mann’s World highly unlikely at the moment.