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PRIMETIME PILOT PANIC: The Early Buzz

Nellie Andreeva

(RE-POSTED FROM FRIDAY): Back by popular demand: Deadline’s Pilot Buzz lists. We’re earlier than normal this year while pilots have generally been late, with only a handful of them having cuts by now and the vast majority still in various stages of production. Therefore, everything on this list has to be taken with a gigantic grain of salt as a lot could change between a table read and a final cut. Take NBC’s comedy pilot SAVE ME for example. After some mixed and even negative chatter early on, mostly related to the tone of the show, originally developed for Showtime, the tide changed completely over the last two days when people saw the completed pilot, which is getting high marks. The list also doesn’t cover every pilot as some of them have not gotten into production yet or feedback has been insufficient:

The network already has one new scripted series on tap for next season, HANNIBAL, which I hear may go for midseason. With the network in such bad shape after years of neglect and bad decisions by previous regimes, NBC seems to have cast a very wide net this season, developing a vast range of projects that are all over the map, making it harder to handicap. On the drama side, mystery MIDNIGHT SUN and the Jekyll & Hyde-esque DO NO HARM are getting some solid early buzz. The Jason Katims/Jason Ritter medical drama COUNTY, which just wrapped, also has been getting positive feedback. Western-esque THE FRONTIER, which is shooting in Australia, is getting notices for its rich look. Comedy-wise, ANIMAL KINGDOM is hot, as is White House family comedy 1600 PENN, despite a last-minute recasting, as well as the Matthew Perry starrer GO ON and Greg Daniels’ FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER. The network also is high on a couple of multi-camera comedies, the untitled KARI LIZER and JIMMY FALLON projects, with TABLE FOR THREE also looking encouraging so far. The Ryan Murphy/Ali Adler blended family comedy THE NEW NORMAL is still shooting but, with the auspices involved, it is considered a strong contender. NBC brass seem to like the SARAH SILVERMAN pilot, which had an early order, but Silverman is considered acquired taste, so a lot will depend on testing.

The KEVIN WILLIAMSON project was very strong at the script stage, got even stronger with the casting of Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy, and seems to be sailing through production. Meanwhile the untitled KARYN USHER teen-spy drama, which also was an early standout during the script phase, then hit a speed bump in casting the lead, which took a very long time, now appears to be in great shape, with newcomer Saxon Sharbino getting strong reviews. The Williamson and Karyn projects seem to be the top drama contenders at the moment, Read More »

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Karyn Usher Signs New Deal With 20th TV

By | Monday April 2, 2012 @ 11:19am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Karyn UsherEXCLUSIVE: Karyn Usher will mark her 10-year-anniversary at 20th Century Fox TV next year as the drama writer-producer has signed a new two-year overall deal with the studio to start in June. Usher has been at 20th series since 2003, working under an overall deal for the past two. Following a stint on the studio’s Lyon’s Den, she worked on Prison Break for its entire run and also served as co-executive producer on Bones. This development season, she landed her first pilot order for an untitled drama about the orphaned 14-year-old daughter (Saxon Sharbino) who becomes a spy herself. Brett Ratner is directing the Fox pilot, which co-stars Julian McMahon, Angela Bassett and Rick Schroder. “Karyn has shown her versatility, and she always does fantastic work,” said 20th TV chairman Gary Newman, adding that the studio brass “are very bullish on her pilot.” Usher is with WME.

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Hamish Linklater To Co-Star In ‘The Asset’, Rick Schroder Cast In Karyn Usher Pilot

By | Wednesday March 14, 2012 @ 6:05pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Hamish Linkalter is in final negotiations to play the male lead opposite Ali Larter in Fox’s drama pilot The Asset. The project, written and executive produced by Josh Friedman and directed by Neil Burger, centers on Anna King (Larter), a remarkably gifted globe-trotting photographer with a secret life: she a CIA field operative. Linklater will play her handler, a CIA-turned-case manager, also joining co-star Bradley Whitford. Linklater, repped by ICM and Framework, is wrapping a run on Broadway in Seminar opposite Alan Rickman and will next be seen in Lola Versus, which will premiere at Tribeca, and Pete Berg’s Battleship.

NYPD Blue alum Rick Schroder has joined another Fox/20th TV drama pilot, the untitled Karyn Usher project. Written by Usher and directed by Brett Ratner, the project centers on Jane Forsythe (Saxon Sharbino), the orphaned 14-year-old daughter of a CIA operative (Schroder) who encounters a mysterious rogue agent (Julian McMahon) who serves as her professional mentor in the spy world. The pilot, where Schroder also joins Angela Bassett, brings him back into the Fox/20th TV fold following a stint on another action drama, 24.

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Angela Bassett & Julian McMahon To Co-Star In Fox’s Karyn Usher Spy Pilot

By | Saturday March 10, 2012 @ 9:30am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Angela Bassett and Nip/Tuck alum Julian McMahon are in final negotiations to co-star in Fox’s untitled Karyn Usher drama pilot. Written by Usher and directed by Brett Ratner, the project centers on Jane Forsythe (Saxon Sharbino), the orphaned 14-year-old daughter of a CIA operative who encounters a mysterious rogue agent (McMahon) who serves as her surrogate father and professional mentor in the spy world. Bassett will play the calculating and political director of the CIA who takes Jane under her wing. Bassett, repped by Gersh and Lighthouse Entertainment, just finished a critically praised run on Broadway in The Mountaintop opposite Samuel L. Jackson. For McMahon, repped by WME and ROAR, this is the first TV role since his seven-year stint on FX’s Nip/Tuck. The Karyn Usher pilot is produced by 20th Century Fox TV and 21 Laps/Adelstein.

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Brett Ratner To Direct Fox’s Karyn Usher Spy Drama Pilot

By | Monday February 6, 2012 @ 5:18pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Brett Ratner is set to direct and executive produce Fox ‘s spy drama pilot written by Karyn Usher (The Playboy Club). The procedural thriller centers on the orphaned 17-year-old daughter of a CIA operative who is recruited to become an operative herself. She encounters a mysterious rogue agent/assassin who serves as both her surrogate father and professional mentor in the spy world. The project hails from 20th Century Fox TV and Marty Adelstein and Shawn Levy’s studio-based 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods. Usher, Adelstein, Becky Clements and Levy will executive produce with Ratner. The pilot gig stems from the new overall deal Ratner signed with 20th TV in August. Of the previous pilots CAA-repped Ratner has directed for 20th TV, where he has been based for the past 8 years, two, Prison Break and Chaos, went to series.

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Fox Greenlights Drama About Teen Spy

By | Thursday January 19, 2012 @ 1:12pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

Fox has given a pilot order to a spy drama written by Karyn Usher (The Playboy Club). The procedural thriller centers on the orphaned 17-year-old daughter of a CIA operative who is recruited to become an operative herself. She encounters a mysterious rogue agent/assassin who serves as both her surrogate father and professional mentor in the spy world. The project hails from 20th Century Fox TV and Mary Adelstein and Shawn Levy’s studio-based 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods. Usher, Adelstein, Becky Clements and Levy are executive producing. The project, which originally sold to Fox in September with a significant penalty, marks Adelstein and Usher’s third project and first pilot together. Adelstein originally met Usher on the Fox/20th TV drama Prison Break, which he executive produced and on which Usher rose to co-executive producer. The two later developed a U.S. version of the British format Daylight Robbery. The pickup of Usher’s project comes on the heels of Fox’s order to Josh Friedman’s drama, which also is about a female spy. (Fox seems determined to break that arena this season.) This brings the number of drama pilots picked up by the network to four, including the previously greenlighted Marc Guggenheim/Greg Berlanti legal drama Guilty and a serial killer drama by Kevin Williamson. Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly indicated earlier this month that he was looking to order five drama pilots.

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