The Over-Achievers Of This Year’s Upfront

Nellie Andreeva

Here is the second-annual honor roll of the best and brightest at the broadcast upfront. First off, to all who got their pilots picked up to series — congratulations. You’re already winners. This is a list of those who took their upfront success to an extra level:

Whitney Cummings: The undisputed queen of Upfront 2011. She is behind two new comedy series that are among the highest-profile new half-hour entries next fall. She created, stars in and executive produces her eponymous comedy for NBC, which was assigned the network’s best comedy slot, following The Office. She also co-wrote on spec with Michael Patrick King the CBS comedy 2 Broke Girls, which broke records as CBS’ best-testing pilot (comedy or drama) ever. Both were the first comedy pilots to get a series order at their networks. Cummings, who also has a talk show in contention at E!, will serve as an executive producer on 2 Broke Girls but will be full-time on Whitney, which was in first position. I hope that doesn’t impact 2 Broke Girls, which King is expected to run/co-run, because the pilot indeed looks great. Honorable mention in the category of creators with multiple projects for Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen. One of their two ABC pilots, Work It, was picked up to series, while the other, Smothered, is very much in contention for midseason.

What a comeback for J.J. Abrams! After his high-profile NBC drama Undercovers went bust last fall, some questioned whether the networks will continue to bet on him. But bet they did this upfront, with both pilots he produced, CBS’ Person of Interest and Fox’s Alcatraz, going to series. Person of Interest instantly became one of the most anticipated new fall series when CBS made it its new Thursday 9 PM anchor. The network also said it was its best-testing drama pilot ever. And over at Fox, Alcatraz prevailed over several high-profile pilots to land one of only two drama series spots. Then, as icing on the cake, Abrams’ modestly rated but well-liked Fox sci-fi series Fringe got a renewal for next season, bringing the producer’s series for next season to three. Read More »

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Five More Broadcast Pilots Land Directors

Nellie Andreeva

Easy A helmer Will Gluck will make his TV directing debut with the Fox half-hour pilot Iceland, a single-camera romantic comedy from Sony TV about a group of friends moving forward after the loss of a loved one. UTA-repped Gluck, … Read More »

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Joe And Anthony Russo Among Latest Pilot Director Hires

Nellie Andreeva

The Emmy-winning team of Anthony and Joe Russo have come on board to direct Fox’s comedy pilot The Council of Dads, from writer-executive producer Peter Tolan and Sony Pictures TV. Last year, the Sony TV-based directors who won an Emmy … Read More »

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Fox Orders Multicamera Comedy Pilot

Nellie Andreeva

At Fox’s TCA session yesterday, entertainment president Kevin Reilly noted that the network is not giving up on multicamera comedy, and its first comedy pilot order this season will go to a traditional sitcom. That is now a reality – … Read More »

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