Since so many of you asked, all CW pilots besides the picked up today The Secret Circle and Hart of Dixie are not going forward. That includes Awakening, Heavenly, Cooper and Stone and Danni Lowinski.
The marathon pilot screenings at the broadcast networks are in full force. While they are rarely the deciding factor in the networks’ final series pickup decisions, they help solidify early standouts’ frontrunner positions and sometimes breathe life into pilots that might have been written off too soon. Here are some updates I heard today. (If some pilots, like ALCATRAZ and POE, are not mentioned in this update, they are in the one from yesterday, so check out that one too.)
The only element of uncertainly about GOOD CHRISTIAN BITCHES‘ future as a new ABC series next season seems to be what it will be called as it will definitely won’t be GCB. After a great screening today, the dramedy executive produced by Darren Star appears a sure thing, possibly as a companion to Desperate Housewives given that it’s been referred to as “Desperate Housewives in Dallas.” Probably the biggest surprise today was the mixed reaction to Shonda Rhimes’ drama SCANDAL, once considered a lock. But with Rhimes behind it, the project is still in the running. Also mixed was the reaction to family/dance drama GRACE, which once again got praise for its elaborate dance sequences and not so much for the narrative. Still a possibility to run behind Dancing With the Stars. Early comedy favorites, SUBURGATORY and SMOTHERED, continue to fly high after good screenings today and yesterday, respectively. Reaction to the Jenna Elfman-starring comedy BAD MOM was more mixed. …
Saturday Night Live alum Tim Meadows has joined NBC’s untitled Kari Lizer project. The workplace comedy centers on Mary (Sarah Paulson), a relationship-challenged woman who, with the help of her co-workers, guides people through unexpected career transitions and downsizings. Meadows, repped by APA and Brillstein Entertainment, will play Mary’s partner, a psychotherapist and the reality check to Mary’s eternal optimism.
Off the Map co-star Zach Gilford has been cast as the male lead in the Fox single-camera pilot Iceland. The project centers on Mackenzie (Kerry Bishe), a twentysomething woman whose fiance recently passed away. Gilford, from WME and D/F Management, will play a guy friend of Mackenzie described as “bad influence.” For Gilford, the casting is in second position to Off the Map. He is the third cast member from the midseason drama to book a pilot this season along with Martin Henderson and Rachelle Lefevre, both cast in NBC’s Reconstruction.
Paul Blackthorne (Lipstick Jungle) has just been cast in the ABC drama pilot The River directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. The horror thriller centers on Lincoln Cole (Joe Anderson) who, after his famous TV explorer father Dr. Emmet Cole (Bruce Greenwood) goes missing way up the Amazon, reluctantly abandons his medical studies and follows in his father’s footsteps. Blackthorne, repped by SDB Partners, Seven Summits & Optimism, will play the producer of Emmet Cole’s long-running documentary series.
Brothers & Sisters alumna Emily VanCamp is returning to ABC as the star of a potential new primetime drama, Revenge. VanCamp has landed the lead in the project, written by Swingtown creator Mike Kelley and to be directed by Phillip Noyce. It is a contemporary re-imagining of The Count of Monte Cristo from a female perspective and centers on Emily Thorn (Van Camp), a mysterious woman who comes to the Hamptons to exact revenge on the people who destroyed her family. VanCamp, who joined Brothers & Sisters midway through the first season, left the family drama last fall. The actress, repped by ICM and Thruline, previously co-starred on the WB’s Everwood.
Lights Out co-star Meredith Hagner has been cast as the second lead opposite Lucy Griffiths in in the CW’s zombie thriller Awakening. The project, from WBTV and Reveille, is about two sisters (Griffiths, Hagner) coming of age and facing off against one another amidst the beginning of a zombie uprising. The pilot is in second position to Lights Out, which has been struggling in the ratings. Hagner, repped by Abrams Artists and Suskin Management, also recurred on USA’s Royal Pains.
British actor Joe Anderson (Across the Universe) has landed the lead in ABC’s drama pilot The River directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. The horror thriller, from DreamWorks TV, ABC Studios and Paranormal Activity mastermind Oren Peli, centers on Lincoln Cole (Anderson) who, after his famous TV explorer father goes missing way up the Amazon, reluctantly abandons his medical studies and follows in his father’s footsteps – accompanied by a small camera crew, and with Something Deadly in the water, waiting for him. Anderson, repped by CAA, Management 360 and U.K.’s United Agents, co-stars in the two-part The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, in which he plays English nomadic vampire Alistair.
Another twentysomething Brit, Lucy Griffiths, has landed the lead in the CW’s zombie thriller Awakening. The project, from WBTV and Reveille, is about two sisters coming of age and facing off against one another amidst the beginning of a zombie uprising. It centers on the older sister, Jenna (Griffiths), an attorney in the New York City’s public defender’s office who, like her sister, is a zombie. This marks the first U.S. acting gig for Griffiths, which stems from the talent holding deal she inked last month with CW’s sibling network CBS. In the U.K., the actress, repped by the Kohner Agency, Principal and the U.K.’s Hamilton/Hodell, played Maid Marian on BBC’s Robin Hood.
It’s like The Walking Dead for young females. The CW is yet to make its first in-cycle pilot order this season, but the network just made a late spec script purchase with Awakening, a zombie drama from Canadian writer-producers William Laurin and Glenn Davis (The Listener). Going after a spec so late in the game usually means that the network has a potential pilot order in mind, but for now, the CW is not going that far with Awakening, which centers on two sisters who come of age and face off against one another amidst the beginning of a zombie uprising. Laurin and Davis’ script was first taken to Reveille which came on board to produce. Now that it has landed at the CW, it is being laid off at Warner Bros. TV, which will co-produce with Reveille. Laurin, Davis, Howard T. Owens, Carolyn Bernstein and Todd Cohen are executive producing the project. Overall, the CW has only made one pilot order this development season, an off-cycle pickup of dramedy Danni Lowinski. Laurin and Davis are with APA, Reveille is with WME.