With less than a month until the upfronts, we’re kicking off our annual Pilot Buzz series. As usual, the first edition only includes a limited number of projects that have been garnering early attention as many pilots are still filming. So, if a pilot is not mentioned, it probably means it is too early to weigh in or the feedback I’ve received is inconclusive at this time.
Shonda Rhimes. Viola Davis. Need we say more? ABC’s sexy suspense legal thriller How To Get Away With Murder, executive produced by Rhimes and starring Davis, is packing some heat early on. Secret & Lies starring Ryan Phillippe also is getting encouraging early response. It also has a seven-figure penalty and is directed by Charles McDougall, whose strong pilot record includes Desperate Housewives, The Good Wife and most recently, Resurrection last season. Then there is Marvel’s stealth Agent Carter project. Last year, the company went into Fort Knox mode on its Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. pilot, which was kept under lock and key. They took that a notch further this year with Agent Carter. Because there is a prototype — the project is inspired by a one shot, which was featured on the Blu-ray release of Iron Man 3 — word has been that it would forgo a pilot and go straight to series. The script was finished more than three months ago (“the script is great,” ABC’s Paul Lee said back in January), the option on one-shot’s star Hayley Atwell came up and was extended, but the green light never came. Now there is talk that a pickup for Agent Carter may come along with a renewal for Marvel’s freshman Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., with the new series possibly serving as a bridge between the fall and spring portions of S.H.I.E.L.D. Also getting various level of early traction at ABC is mystery Sea of Fire and several dark horses, alien drama The Whispers (aka The Visitors), medical drama The Warriors and mystery Clementine. Read More »
Andrea Parker (Desperate Housewives) has been cast in NBC’s single-camera comedy pilot Feed Me, from Witt-Thomas and Universal TV. Written by Sally Robinson and starring Mary-Louise Parker, it centers on a dysfunctional family bound by love and the restaurant they run together. Andrea Parker will play Amanda, the angry, spiteful and vengeful ex-wife of John (Ed Quinn) who’s been dragging out their divorce for five years and is determined to make his life miserable. APA-repped Parker recurs on Pretty Little Liars.
Related: 2014 NBC Pilots
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The CW’s new Friday lineup premiered last night, anchored by summer breakout Whose Line Is Is Anyway at 8 PM. The improv comedy opened its second cycle with a 0.6 in adults 18-49 and 1.91 million viewers. That was down sharply from the 1.1 for the show’s summer debut but that opener was boosted by curiosity as it marked the comedy’s return after a six-year hiatus. Last night’s Whose Line edged the summer finale (0.5). It also topped in the demo the second Friday airing of Fox’s Rake (0.5, flat with last week, 1.92 million) at 8 PM. Whose Line’s viewership was the largest for a regularly scheduled CW programming in the hour in almost three years, since the May 2011 season finale of former Friday dweller Supernatural. At 9 PM, Hart of Dixie (0.4, 1.23 million) rose by a tenth in 18-49 in its new home vs. its last airing on Monday and by 19% in total viewers. It tied Fox in the hour in 18-49, facing an Enlisted rerun (0.4) and new Raising Hope (0.4). Read More »
One Tree Hill alum Robert Buckley has been set as a series regular in Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero’s CW drama pilot iZombie, from Warner Bros. TV. iZombie is a supernatural crime procedural that centers on a med student-turned-zombie who takes a job in the coroner’s office to gain access to the brains she must reluctantly eat to maintain her humanity, but with each brain she consumes, she inherits the corpse’s memories. Buckley, repped by WME and Interlink Management, will play Major, Liz’s former fiance who is trying to make the transition to friend.
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Warner Bros. Television has just released the first image from its CW pilot The Flash, based on the DC comic. It shows Grant Gustin in full head gear as his character Barry Allen’s superhero alter ego The Flash. In the show, through a freak accident, scientist Barry … Read More »
Shonda Rhimes has drafted Liza Weil, who recurred on her hot ABC drama Scandal, for the ABC drama pilot How To Get Away With Murder starring Viola Davis, which Rhimes exec produces. The sexy, suspense-driven legal thriller centers on … Read More »
Skins‘ alum Sofia Black-D’Elia and Joel Courtney (Super 8) have joined CW drama pilot The Messengers from feature producer Basil Iwanyk (the Clash Of The Titans franchise) and CBS TV Studios. The … Read More »
Sean Faris (The Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars) is set to co-star opposite fellow TVD alum Nathaniel Buzolic and Lucien Laviscount in Supernatural: Tribes, the planted Supernatural spinoff, which will air as an episode of the … Read More »
Breakout Kings alum Malcolm Goodwin has been cast as a co-lead in Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero’s CW drama pilot iZombie, from Warner Bros. TV. Also cast in the DC comic adaptation are Last Man Standing alumna … Read More »
Matt Barr, who played the title character in Lifetime’s Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story, has been cast as the male lead opposite Ahna O’Reilly in the CW drama pilot Identity, exec produced by Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci. It centers on Mia (O’Reilly), a young New Yorker who learns she needs an organ transplant to survive and her only living relative is a newfound half-brother, Davis (Barr), the charming, privileged only son of a wealthy and powerful Charleston family. She connects with them only to find they’re the target of a CIA investigation for involvement in domestic terrorism, and the agency wants her as their newest informant. Read More »
Tom Cavanagh (Ed) is the latest addition to the CW pilot The Flash, based on the DC comic. The project, from Warner Bros TV and Berlanti Productions, is an origin story about Barry Allen, aka The Flash (Grant Gustin), … Read More »
The CW came to TCA this morning to announce it had bought a barbershop competition series hosted by Cedric the Entertainer, a magician reality series hosted by Penn & Teller, and a four-hour event series about the Holy Grail.
Barber Battle visits different barbershops across the country in each of its 10 episodes. The most talented barbers will compete to showcase their artistry — from portraits to landmarks to ballparks — on someone’s head. Judges, locations and contestants will be announced later. Cedric exec produces along with Mark Efman (Charlemagne & Friends, A&E Biographies).
On each of the nine episodes of Penn & Teller: Fool Us, aspiring magicians are invited to perform their best trick. Anyone who succeeds in fooling Penn & Teller wins the right to perform with them at their show at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. A live studio audience and viewers watch along with Penn & Teller as they try to figure out the secrets. Penn & Teller see the trick only once and have to try to work it out immediately. British television and radio personality Jonathan Ross (Friday Night With Jonathan Ross) serves as host. Penn & Teller: Fool Us is created and produced by 117 Productions and September Films (part of DCD Media) for ITV, with executive producers Peter Adam Golden and Andrew Golder, David Green and Peter Davey. Read More »
UPDATED: With its siblings Showtime and CBS tackling terrorism via Homeland and Hostages, respectively, the CW also is joining the fray. The network is putting its youthful stamp on the subject with an untitled project … Read More »
From 1600s France to 1930s Hollywood. The CW, which launched its first period drama this fall with Reign, is exploring a more recent past with Players, a one-hour drama set against the Golden Age of … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Heroes creator Tim Kring is shepherding another drama project about teens with powers. The CW has put in development Exp, from Kring’s Tim Kring Imperative and Warner Bros. TV. Written by Zach Craley based … Read More »
Glee baddie Grant Gustin has landed his first major role, signing on to play Barry Allen aka The Flash on the CW’s proposed Arrow spinoff. He will appear in three episodes of … Read More »
UPDATED: CW took another step toward making good on its promise to get back into the scripted comedy series business, licensing U.S. broadcast rights to the half-hour comedy series Seed from Canadian production house Entertainment One – eOne. This summer, CW dipped its big toe back into the comedy waters with the resuscitation of the former ABC sketch improv series Whose Line Is It Anyway? That series’ July launch clocked nearly 3 million viewers, making it CW’s most watched unscripted series premiere in six years, and its most watched show in its Tuesday 8 PM slot in nearly five years.
CW’s current president Mark Pedowitz joined the network in spring of 2011, saying one of his priorities would be to get the network back into the comedy game. It was a goal he reiterated most recently at Summer TV Press Tour 2013. CW’s been out of the scripted comedy business since the Everybody Hates Chris/Aliens in America days, back in ’07 — though one of its former comedies, The Game is doing well – over at BET. And yes, there was that summer ’10 stab at comedy, 18 To Life, though that one was DOA, opening with under a million viewers.
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Times being what they are CW execs went into their half-day at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013 braced for some scorched-earth questioning about the teenage-girl-masturbating-in-castle-hall scene of the network’s first crunchy-gravel drama Reign, which purports to be a drama series about the teen years of Mary Stuart (aka Mary Queen of Scots). Imagine their surprise when, instead, they found themselves being grilled with questions about the show’s historical inaccuracies. Reign is enormously important to CW this fall; the network will use its biggest hit, The Vampire Diaries to launch Reign on Thursday nights because VD is CW’s most viewed series among young women. Bodice-ripper Reign takes enormous liberties with the 16th century history of Mary Queen of Scots. As told by CW, Mary arrives in France to marry the French king’s hot son, Prince Francis. In the real world, Francis was a sickly young teen who died after less than two years on the throne. The CW’s Francis, however, is a hunky guy who has a “history” with a lady of the court which, of course, was hardly worth mentioning back in those days but looms large, plot-development-wise, in 2013. Adding to the fun, Mary is also attracted to Francis’ “roguish” illegitimate half-brother, Bash — who never existed, notes the actor playing him, Torrance Coombs.
“In each episode we’ll educate people on what element of history helps our story,” exec producer Laurie McCarthy explained this morning when one of the early what-the-heck history questions came in. “There is a certain amount of latitude,” she acknowledged. “It’s TV so, you know, we can take creative license with it,” chimed in star Adelaide Kane, adding, “It’s entertainment – it’s not the History Channel.” And how cute is she that she thinks History Channel still is about history? Read More »