CBS has passed on Hail Mary. An early frontrunner, the buddy PI pilot starring Minnie Driver eventually lost momentum at the network. But the project has been a favorite at producing studio Warner Bros TV, and I hear that it is now being shopped around to other networks. Produced by Joel Silver, Hail Mary centers on Mary Beth (Driver), a suburban single mom in Atlanta who teams with KZ (Brandon T. Jackson), a streetwise hustler, to solve crimes.
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.
With Fox done with its series orders and NBC pretty much done too, attention is focusing on ABC and CBS. ABC is expected to make its series pickups tomorrow. Here is the latest buzz on the two networks:
Assured to get series orders are early frontrunners GOOD CHRISTIAN BITCHES and CHARLIE’S ANGELS, along with the modern fairy tale ONCE UPON A TIME. Shonda Rhimes’ PR drama SCANDAL looks solid, with one or both of PAN AM and procedural IDENTITY also expected to get a green light. Thriller THE RIVER is rumored for an order, though it’s unclear if it will be a regular or limited-series one. Other possibilities on the drama side include the Hamptons-set REVENGE, which has been gathering momentum, and Marc Cherry’s HALLELUJAH, possibly for midseason with some retooling, while 1840s detective show POE has been fading.
On the comedy side, the TIM ALLEN pilot, APT. 23 and SUBURGATORY are considered a go, with SMOTHERED, WORK IT and BAD MOM as possibilities.
With CBS’ most guarded secret — who will replace Charlie Sheen — out, a lot of the intrigue surrounding CBS’ presentation next week is gone. Luckily, we still have series pickups and schedule to try to figure out. On the drama side, the rise of the J.J. Abrams/Jonah Nolan crime drama PERSON OF INTEREST remains in what is considered a frontrunner status. Ensemble cop drama ROOKIES and procedural THE REMEMBERER also appear strong. PI …
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. …
EXCLUSIVE: In his first regular series gig, Tropic Thunder co-star Brandon T. Jackson has been tapped as the male lead opposite Minnie Driver in CBS’ buddy P.I. pilot Hail Mary. Penned by Jeff Wadlow, the project centers on Mary Beth Baker (Driver), a suburban single mom in Atlanta who, after her teen son gets killed, teams up with her son’s best friend KZ (Jackson), a fast-talking con artist from the streets, to solve her son’s murder and other crimes. Jackson, repped by CAA and ML Management, most recently appeared in Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son and guest starred on Fox’s Raising Hope.
Minnie Driver is returning to series television as star of CBS’ drama pilot Hail Mary. The project, created by Jeff Wadlow and executive produced by Ilene Chaiken, is a buddy P.I. show set in Atlanta that focuses on a suburban single mom (Driver) who teams up with a streetwise hustler to solve crimes. In addition to Hail Mary, Driver was also pursued for the NBC pilot Free Agents this season. This was one of 2 offers for On American TV, British-born Driver, repped by CAA and Untitled, previously starred on FX’s The Riches and recurred on NBC’s Will & Grace. She was most recently seen in Conviction.
Alan Tudyk has been cast in ABC’s comedy pilot Suburgatory. The project, from Warner Bros. TV and writer-exec producer Emily Kapnek, centers on Tessa (Jane Levy), a teenage girl who is moved by her dad George from Manhattan, where she grew up, to her version of hell: the suburbs. Tudyk will play George’s old college buddy who has been living in the suburbs for years. Tudyk, repped by Gersh and Coronel Co., was approached for multiple pilots. He will next be seen in Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
The L Word co-creator/executive producer Ilene Chaiken has joined CBS’ private eye drama pilot Hail Mary as executive producer/showrunner. The project, created by Jeff Wadlow, is a buddy P.I. show set in Atlanta that focuses on a suburban single mom who teams up with a streetwise hustler to solve crimes. Wadlow, Chaiken and Joel Silver executive produce for Warner Bros. TV. Chaiken co-created and ran the Showtime drama The L Word. She is also behind the show’s reality spinoff, The Real L Word, which is now prepping its second season.
Meanwhile, Alex Graves, who just recreated prehistoric Earth as director of the pilot for Fox’s Terra Nova, is staying in the past with a directing gig on ABC’s drama pilot Poe. The crime procedural follows Edgar Allan Poe, the world’s very first detective, as he uses unconventional methods to investigate dark mysteries in 1840s Boston. Chris Hollier penned the project for Warner Bros. TV and Dan Lin’s Lin Pictures.
CBS has added two drama pilots to its slate: The Doctor, a medical/family drama from Privileged creator Rina Mimoun, and Hail Mary, a buddy PI show from writer Jeff Wadlow. The Doctor, which originally landed at CBS in August with a put pilot commitment, centers on a mother who reconnects with her adult children when she joins the family medical practice. Mimoun, who is under an overall deal at WBTV, is the writer-executive producer. I hear this is one of 3 projects top pilot director David Nutter, aka “the pilot whisperer,” is considering for his pilot directing gig this year. CBS has been aggressive in pursuing medical shows this development season as launching a successful medical franchise is a priority for the network. The Doctor is the second medical drama project picked up to pilot so far, following the order to Susannah Grant’s supernatural medical show.
Hail Mary, which is co-produced by Silver Pictures, is a buddy P.I. show centered around a suburban single mom in Atlanta who teams up with a street-wise hustler to solve crimes. This marks the second consecutive drama pilot at CBS for Wadlow who last year created The Odds, also with Silver Pictures and WBTV producing. Wadlow wrote Hail Mary and is executive producing it with Joel Silver. Beau Bauman serves as a producer. In addition to Hail Mary, Wadlow has another …
EXCLUSIVE: On the heels of his first pilot order last season, CBS’ The Odds, Jeff Wadlow has landed two projects this season, Hail Mary at CBS and Rush at the CW. Both are from Warner Bros. TV and Silver Pictures, which also produced The Odds. Hail Mary is about a female P.I. in the South who partners with her murdered son’s best friend. Rush is about undercover cops working the New York nightclub scene. Wadlow is writing and executive producing both projects with an eye to direct the potential pilots. Beau Bauman is also producing.