I’ve been reporting these and dribs and drabs but here is a full list:
ABC: DRAMAS Identity, Hallelujah, Grace, Georgetown, Poe, Partners. COMEDIES: My Freakin’ Family, Other People’s Kids, Bad Mom, Lost & Found.
NBC: DRAMAS Wonder Woman, Reconstruction, A Mann’s World, Metro, 17the Precinct; COMEDIES: Brave New World, I Hate That I Love You, Untitled Kari Lizer, Lovelives, My Life As An Experiment, Family Practice (aka Dan Goor)
Former Stargate Universe star Robert Carlyle is set to portray Rumplestiltskin in ABC’s drama pilot Once Upon a Time, about a woman drawn into a town where the magic and mystery of fairy tales may be real and hold the key to unlocking the mysteries of her troubled past. An expert on black magic, Rumplestiltskin agrees to help Snow White and Prince Charming counteract the Evil Queen’s dark spells, but for a price. Carlyle is with Gersh and Authentic.
Emma Bell has been added to NBC’s drama pilot Reconstruction (formerly The Crossing). Written by Josh Brand and directed by Peter Horton, the project is set in a Missouri town during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era and centers on Jason (Martin Henderson), a soldier who crosses the country and settles into a complicated town where he is welcomed as its savior. Bell, repped by ICM and Brillstein, will play a strong-willed woman who denounces Jason as a coward. She recently recurred on AMC’s The Walking Dead.
In what would be her first regular series gig, Oscar winner Anjelica Huston has been tapped to co-star opposite Debra Messing and Christian Borle in NBC’s drama pilot Smash, which follows a cross-section of characters who come together to put on a Marilyn Monroe musical on Broadway. Huston will play a shrewd, classy but cynical New York theater producer who is at home with the elite. Also co-starring in the pilot are Megan Hilty, Jack Davenport and Katharine McPhee. On TV, Huston recently recurred on the NBC/CBS drama Medium.
Twilight alumna Rachelle Lefevre has been tapped as the female lead in the NBC drama pilot The Crossing. Written by Josh Brand, it is set in a Missouri town during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era and centers on Jason, a Civil War soldier who crosses the country and settles into a complicated town where he is welcomed as its savior. Lefevre will play Anna, a war widow in the town who watched helplessly as Union soldiers burned her husband and two little boys alive in their barn. Now living with her five-year-old daughter, Anna is smitten with Jason at first meeting and embarks on a torrid affair with the troubled outsider. For Lefevre, the casting is in second position to ABC’s midseason medical drama Off the Map. Lefevre, repped by Gersh and Pearl Hanan Management, most recently co-starred in the features Barney’s Version and Casino Jack.
Veteran actress Stockard Channing has signed on to star in NBC’s pilot 17th Precinct, an ensemble cop drama with supernatural elements from Battlestar Galactica developer/executive producer Ron Moore. The project, from Sony Pictures TV, is set in the fictional town of Excelsior where magic and supernatural elements rule over science. Channing will play Mira, a fiercely intelligent former homicide detective who’s working in the robbery division of the 17th Precinct.
Meanwhile, Wentworth Miller and Orlando Jones are in talks for the ABC drama pilot Identity. The project, from ABC Studios and Eagle Eye scribe John Glenn, is based on an ITV/ITV Studio format and is an action procedural centered on an elite police unit formed to combat the explosion of identity-related crime. Miller and Jones would play members of the unit.
Amanda Peet is set to star in NBC’s comedy pilot Bent. Peet was heavily pursued by NBC, which approached her for Bent as well as a drama pilot, but she ultimately went with the half-hour. Bent, which Tad Quill wrote and is executive producing, is a single-camera romantic comedy about a recently divorced “type A” single mother (Peet) who tries hard not to fall for the sexy “surfer-dude” contractor she hires to re-do her kitchen. On TV, Peet, repped by Gersh and Management 360,vpreviously starred on NBC’s Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and the WB’s Jack & Jill.
Former Will & Grace star Debra Messing is returning to NBC as the female lead of another series project set in New York where the male lead is a gay man.
Messing is finalizing a deal to star in NBC’s hourlong pilot Smash, an ambitious drama about the mounting of a Broadway musical, which was based on an idea by Steven Spielberg. The pilot, produced by DreamWorks TV and UMS, follows a cross section of characters who come together to put on a Marilyn Monroe musical on Broadway. At the heart of the show are the musical’s composer Tom, who is gay, and the lyricist Julia (Messing), who is somewhat against the idea of a Marilyn Monroe-themed musical.
TV writer/playwright Theresa Rebeck wrote the script for Smash and is executive producing with Spielberg, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey of DreamWorks TV, Hairspray producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and Grammy and Tony-winning songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman who will pen original songs for the show. Michael Mayer (American Idiot) is directing. This has been a passion project for new NBC chief Bob Greenblatt who first developed it at Showtime. But, despite its pay-cable origins, Smash is said to be a broad, broadcast-type show.
After the end of NBC’s Will & Grace, which earned Messing an Emmy, she toplined the USA Network mini-series/series The Starter Wife. Last season, the actress, repped by Gersh and 3 Arts, starred in and produced the ABC comedy pilot Wright vs. Wrong.
NBC is saddling up for The Crossing, picking up to pilot a period Western from Peter Horton. Additionally, the network has officially greenlit its adaptation of the British classic Prime Suspect, which had been rolled over from last season.
The Crossing (formerly Reconstruction) was originally developed at FX where it was set up in 2009. The drama, written by St. Elsewhere co-creator Josh Brand, is set in a Missouri town during the post-Civil War Reconstruction era and centers on Jason, a Civil War soldier who crosses the country and settles into a complicated town where he is welcomed as its savior — whether he likes it or not. Brand and Horton are exec producing, with … Read More »
In what could be the last comedy pilot pickup at NBC this season, the network has given a cast-contingent order to a multi-camera comedy from The New Adventures of Old Christine creator Kari Lizer. The project, produced by Warner Bros. TV where Lizer is under an overall deal, is a workplace comedy about a relationship-challenged woman who, with the help of her co-workers, guides people through unexpected career transitions and downsizings. The comedy sparked a bidding war when it hit the marketplace in October, eventually landing at NBC with a production commitment. It brings Lizer back to NBC where she worked on Will & Grace for 4 years before segueing to developing. The pickup at NBC means that all of Lizer’s projects so far have gone to pilot. She previously developed during the 2004-05 season when she sold Christine to CBS and True to the WB. Both were ordered to pilot and Christine went on to become a series, which wrapped its 5-year run on CBS in May and earned star Julia Louis-Dreyfus a best comedy actress Emmy in 2005. A busy pickup season is winding down at NBC, which may pick up another couple of dramas and possibly one more comedy.
UPDATED: NBC has picked up to pilot REM, the spec by Lone Star creator Kyle Killen which was taken out by 20th TV a couple of weeks ago. Additionally, the network has given the green light to 3 more comedy pilots: Free Agents, LoveLives and an untitled project from Dan Goor.
Killen’s REM, from 20th TV, is described as an Inception-style thriller about a cop who wakes up after an accident to find he is living in two different realities. The project has been given a cast-contingent order. As expected, new NBC chief Bob Greenblatt has been very opportunistic with spec scripts, handing out a significant chunk of his pilot orders to project brought to the network as specs.
Free Agents, from UMS and Party Down co-creator John Enbom, is a single-camera romantic comedy based on the U.K. format that explores the attraction between two quirky co-workers who are both on the rebound, one from a divorce and the other from the loss of a fiancé. While in the original series, which ran on Channel 4 in 2009, the lovebirds were agents, in the NBC version they will be PR executives. Enbom is executive producing with Kenton Allen from Big Talk Prods., producer of the British series. Todd Holland and Karey Burke are also exec producing through their UMS-based company, with Holland directing. The comedy has been given a cast-contingent order.
LoveLives, from 20th TV and Chernin Entertainment, is a … Read More »
The pilot pickup season is just starting in earnest, but we already have an unusually large number of creators with multiple pilot orders. Peter Tolan, Whitney Cummings, Michael Patrick King and the duo of Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen have each received two pickups. Tolan wrote and is executive producing Fox’s comedy The Council of Dads and NBC’s Brave New World, Cummings wrote, executive produces and stars in an untitled comedy pilot for NBC about a young couple and co-wrote/executive produces the CBS comedy pilot Two Broke Girls with King. King also has NBC drama pilot A Mann’s World, on which he is the writer-executive producer. Reich and Cohen wrote and are executive producing two ABC comedy pilots, Work It and Smothered. Besides evoking an automatic reaction of “Come on, spread the wealth” from other writers who have projects in contention, the embarrassment of riches for the in-demand creators with multiple pilots comes with inevitable complications, putting pressure on the writer-producers in the pilot phase and facing them and the networks with some difficult choices come May. Read More »
UPDATED: It’s a big comedy pilot pickup day at NBC. The network just picked up 4 half-hour pilots, including two multicamera sitcoms based on the comedy of two edgy, good-looking female comedians, Chelsea Handler and Whitney Cummings, one written by Peter Tolan and one written by Cathy Yuspa and Josh Goldsmith and produced by Jack Black.
Handler’s Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea is a multicamera comedy inspired by latenight star’s autobiographical book of the same name about her life in her 20s. The project, written and executive produced by Dharma & Greg co-creator Dottie Zicklin and Julie Larson, centers on a 20-something woman who has a very honest and provocative point of view on dating, friends and family. Vodka, from Warner Bros. TV and Werner Entertainment, was developed at NBC after landing at the network in a competitive situation with a put pilot commitment in November. Handler, who won’t be starring in the comedy, is executive producing with her producing partner at Borderline Amazing Prods. Tom Brunelle, Werner Entertainment’s Werner and Mike Clements. The casting on the project promises to be interesting, looking for a 20-something Handler. In addition to Vodka, Zicklin has another comedy project in contention at Fox.
The untitled multicamera Whitney Cummings project, … Read More »
Oscar-winning feature writer Stephen Gaghan is making a return to television with a pilot at NBC. In his latest pilot order to a big-name writer, new NBC programming chief Bob Greenblatt has given the green light to Gaghan’s drama S.I.L.A., which will be produced by 20th Century Fox TV and Chernin Entertainment. Gaghan, who won an Oscar for writing Traffic and earned another Oscar nom for writing Syriana, originally penned S.I.L.A. 18 months ago, with the script recently finding its way to Greenblatt. The project is described as a complex drama in the style of Traffic and Syriana set in the world of crime, law enforcement and politics in sprawling modern-day Los Angeles. In addition to writing, Gaghan, who has helmed two movies, including Syriana, will also direct the pilot. He is executive producing with Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope.
S.I.L.A.was laid off at Chernin Entertainment and 20th TV because of Gaghan’s existing relationships there. Through a deal at 20th TV, Gaghan has a drama and animated projects set up at Fox, also through Chernin Entertainment, which he is supervising along with his development executive Suzanne Joskow. On the feature side, Gaghan has Dead Spy Running, a feature at Warner Bros. that he is writing with an eye to direct. Kevin McCormick and McG’s Wonderland are producing. Read More »
McG knows a thing or two about directing reboots of classic franchises featuring ass-kicking gals having helmed the two Charlie’s Angels movies. Now my colleague, TVLine’s Michael Ausiello, is reporting that McG has emerged as the odds-on favorite to direct David E. Kelley’s freshly greenlit Wonder Woman pilot for NBC and Warner Bros. TV. Sources stress that there are no talks going on as McG has not met on the project yet, but word is that he is considered a fronturnner for the job. While a very active TV producer with 4 series on the air, Chuck, Supernatural, Nikita and Human Target, McG rarely directs in TV as he’s been keeping busy in features. His only previous TV directing gigs are helming the pilots for Chuck and Fastlane, both projects developed and produced by McG’s WBTV-based company.
New NBC entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt is putting his stamp on the network’s development with a pilot order for a project he originally developed while at Showtime. NBC just greenlighted Smash, an ambitious one-hour musical about the mounting of a Broadway musical based on an idea by Steven Spielberg. The pilot, which will be produced by DreamWorks TV and Universal Media Studios, follows a cross section of characters who come together to put on a Broadway musical. TV writer/playwright Theresa Rebeck wrote the script and is executive producing with Spielberg, Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey of DreamWorks TV, Hairspray producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and Grammy and Tony-winning songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman who will pen original songs for the show. Negotiations are underway for Michael Mayer (American Idiot) to direct. Smash joins an expansive slate at DreamWorks TV, which includes 4 series, including the upcoming The Borgias on Showtime and Terra Nova on Fox. Musicals have been a hot genre on the broadcast networks this development season with in light of the success of Fox’s Glee, but Smash is the first such project to reach a pilot stage.
Also greenlighted to pilot at NBC under Greenblatt is the comedy spec I Hate That I Love You, from Will & Grace alumna Jhoni Marchinko and 20th Century Fox TV. It is described as a twisty single-camera romantic comedy in which a straight couple … Read More »
NBC has given a pilot order to 17th Precinct, an ensemble cop drama with supernatural elements from Battlestar Galactica developer/executive producer Ron Moore. The project, from Sony Pictures TV where Moore is under an overall deal, has been described as an adult Harry Potter. It is set in the fictional town of Excelsior where magic and supernatural elements rule over science. The pitch for the drama landed at NBC in September with a big commitment that reportedly included pilot and series penalties totaling close to $2 million. This is the second drama pilot pickup for NBC this season, following the recent green light to Playboy.
Six years after originally developing Rodney Rothman’s Early Bird: A Memoir of Premature Retirement as a comedy series, NBC is taking another stab at a comedy series adaptation of the book by the former Late Show with David Letterman head writer, which chronicled his experiences living with retirees in Florida. The network is currently redeveloping the project as a single-camera comedy about a young guy who moves into a retirement community. NBC has already hired a casting director and intends to shoot a pilot but will make a formal decision after it sees Rothman’s new script, which is now being written. UMS and 3 Arts, which also produced the first NBC adaptation, are producing. The first incarnation of the project got to a pilot stage in 2005. The single-camera pilot was directed by Paul Feig and starred Timm Sharp as a writer who was fired from his dream TV writing job and finds himself chilling out at a retirement village where he loves the laid-back lifestyle. TV Land’s similarly themed multi-camera sitcom Retired at 35 premieres on January 19.