Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Television writers and producers aren’t supposed to treasure directors, generally viewing them instead as a necessary evil. But Greg Berlanti evidently failed to receive that memo this morning as he positively gushed during a TCA session about Danny Cannon‘s directorial contributions to his new CW series The Tomorrow People. Berlanti referred to Cannon, who directed both the pilot and second episode of the SFX-rich series, as “the unsung hero” of the effects. Berlanti stressed, “The art of pilot directing is, I think, even more challenging than feature directing in that (the director) has to create an entire world and an entire aesthetic and tell a story in a much short period of time, and with a lot less money. They also have to make a lot of creative decisions themselves.” He emphasized that all TV directors should get “a tremendous amount more credit” that they do. “As someone who has written a number of pilots, you really begin to worship the people who are experts at this art form,” Berlanti continued. “I’ve been blessed to work with people like David Nutter and Danny (Cannon), who really achieve a feature look and style.”
Related: TCA: “Good Time” To Be Director In TV, Says DGA Prez & FX Series Helmers READ MORE »
Danny Cannon is set to direct and executive produce the CW drama pilot The Tomorrow People, the Warner Bros./Berlanti TV-produced adaptation of the British sci-fi series. Phil Klemmer wrote the script and exec produces with Greg Berlanti, Julie Plec and Cannon. Cannon’s pilot directing credits include the CSI franchise and Nikita.
RJ Cutler, who directed the pilot for ABC’s freshman drama Nashville, will helm CBS’ drama pilot The Ordained. The project, from CBS TV Studios and writer Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, centers on the son of a Kennedy-esque family who leaves the priesthood and becomes a lawyer to prevent his politician sister from being assassinated. CAA-repped Cutler serves as an executive producer on Nashville.
Emmy winner Todd Holland has signed on to direct the NBC single-camera comedy pilot Donor Party, from writer Alex Schemmer and Universal TV. It is about a guy who discovers he’s got children from sperm donations he’d made years ago. Holland is joining with his producing partner Karey Burke who will executive produce through their Dark Toy banner. Holland executive produces with Burke freshman NBC comedy Go On whose pilot he directed last season. Read More »
TNT is saddling up for Gateway, handing out a cast-contingent pilot order to the action/adventure project from Bruce C. McKenna and Danny Cannon. The project, produced by Warner Horizon, was first announced at Turner’s upfront … Read More »
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 »
In a series of stories, I’ll take an analytical look at the current broadcast pilot season and some of its trends and heroes.
In what was probably the last big pilot director signing this season, Jaume Collet-Sera yesterday closed a … Read More »
Former Dexter director-producer Michael Cuesta, who most recently helmed the pilot for CBS’ cop family drama Blue Bloods, has signed on to direct Showtime’s drama pilot Homeland, a psychological thriller from former 24 showrunner Howard Gordon based on an … Read More »
After a popular Nikita movie and series, why retell the story yet again in a new series? It’s a legitimate question and one the writer of the upcoming CW series Nikita Craig Silverstein asked himself when Warner Bros. TV approached him with the idea to do something with the title. … Read More »