Off the Map creator/executive producer Jenna Bans and executive producer Shonda Rhimes are teaming for a new ABC drama project created by Bans. The untitled legal drama centers on a young, idealistic defense attorney who, after being ignominiously fired from his high-powered Minneapolis law firm, struggles to start his own firm with an eclectic group of lawyer misfits, while starting to realize that he may have been fired from his old job because he got too close to a deadly cover-up. ABC Studios and Shondaland are producing, with Bans, Rhimes and Betsy Beers executive producing. Before she created Off the Map, Bans worked on Rhimes’ veteran medical drama Grey’s Anatomy and now serves as a co-executive producer on Rhimes’ midseason ABC drama Scandal. This marks Shondaland’s second ABC sale this season. Last month, the ABC Studios-based company set up Gilded Lillys, a 1895 drama written by The Nine co-creator KJ Steinberg. Bans and Rhimes are with ICM.
In Other News: ‘Body Of Proof’ Picked Up, ‘Better With You’, ‘Mr. Sunshine’, ‘No Ordinary Family’, ‘Off The Map’ ‘Outsourced’ Dead
UPDATED: Pickup news flashes are flying fast and furious today, so some have fallen through the cracks as I try to stay afloat. Here are some notable renewal/cancellations: As expected, Body of Proof became the second ABC freshman series after Happy Endings to make the cut for a second season. Better With You, Off the Map, No Ordinary Family and Mr. Sunshine are canceled. Also dead is NBC’s freshman comedy Outsourced.
With a two-hour American Idol (7.4/21 in adults 18-49, 24.9 million viewers), Fox easily won last night in 18-49 and total viewers. Versus last Wednesday’s performance show, Idol was down 9% in the demo. (All week-to-week comparisons this week are probably affected by the switch to daylight saving time. TV use in the 8-10 slot last night was down 4% from last week.) Compared with the comparable telecast last year, Idol was down also 9% in 18-49.
The time shift also likely impacted the rest of the 8 PM shows last night. CBS’ Survivor: Redemption Island (3.1/10) was down a tenth from last week for a new series low; NBC’s Minute to Win It (0.9/3) was down 10%, also for a series low; and the CW’s America’s Next Top Model (0.8/3) was down 27%. (ABC aired comedy repeats in the 8 PM hour.)
CBS’ Criminal Minds (3.6/10) was flat with its most recent original two weeks ago, while its spinoff Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior (2.6/7) shot up 18% with an original Minds as a lead-in versus a repeat last week. Following a Modern Family repeat, midseason ABC comedy Mr. Sunshine (1.8/5) was flat with last week and tied a series low. Ditto for midseason drama Off the Map (1.4/4) at 10 PM. NBC aired Law & Order: SVU repeats at 9 PM and 10 PM.
From Ray Richmond, who is contributing to Deadline Hollywood’s TCA coverage:
Even at a panel session Monday morning promoting her next ABC drama series — the midseason medical hour Off the Map, premiering Wednesday night at 10 — Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice creator Shonda Rhimes can’t get away from the “What have you done for me lately?” mentality. Several questions about her next greenlit pilot project centering on the work of “a professional fixer” were lobbed at her during the TCA powwow in Pasadena, briefly catching her offguard.
“We’re really supposed to be here talking about Off the Map,” she reasoned, before answering a question about what it is a professional fixer does. “It’s a crisis manager,” Rhimes said, “loosely based on a real professional fixer named Judy Smith, who shepherded Monica Lewinsky and the Chandra Levy families through their scandals and issues as well as those of many others. My fixer is not necessarily Judy Smith but is based a lot on her…It resolves around the life of a fixer and her fairly dysfunctional staff based in Washington, D.C.”
That’s how life is for the most successful female independent producer working in TV. Rhimes has one show (Grey’s) in its seventh season, one (Private Practice) in its fourth and a third (Off the Map) just getting started, leaving her lamenting on Monday, “I very much wish I had a clone out there. There’s no such thing for me as a typical day. On Mondays …
Here’s an exclusive first look at the extended teaser for Off the Map, ABC’s new medical hour from Shonda Rhimes and Jenna Bans that’s set to premiere on January 12. The drama revolves around a group of doctors working at a medical clinic in the South American jungle and stars Martin Henderson (The Ring), Caroline Dhavernas (Wonderfalls), Jason George (Grey’s Anatomy), Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights), Rachelle Lefevre (What About Brian), and Mamie Gummer (The Good Wife). Betsy Beers also serves as an executive producer. Michael Ausiello is contributing to Deadline.com as he preps for the launch of TVLine.com, a new TV-centric website from MMC.
This trend of comedies at 10 PM seems to be catching on quickly at the broadcast networks. Right after NBC announced that it will expand its 8-10 PM Thursday comedy block to 11 PM in midseason, ABC is doing the same with its Wednesday 8-10 PM comedy block. Beginning April 13, the network will air midseason comedy Happy Endings at 10 PM, followed by Modern Family reruns branded as “fan favorites” at 10:30 PM.
ABC will start warming up the Wednesday 10 PM slot with comedies this month by pulling canceled legal drama The Whole Truth earlier than previously planned and replacing it with Modern Family and Cougar Town repeats. Before that, from February 9 through April 6, ABC’s other midseason comedy, Mr. Sunshine, will take over the network’s plum post-Modern Family slot at 9:30 PM to give the Matthew Perry-starring comedy the best possible launching pad. One Friends alum, Courteney Cox, will make room for another, Perry, as Cougar Town, which airs in the 9:30 PM time period, will go on hiatus, returning on April 13. With the time off, Cougar Town now has 20 of its 22 episodes scheduled, with the remaining 2 expected to get a berth too, either replacing a Cougar Town rerun or in a different spot on the schedule. As previously announced, anchoring the Wednesday lineup at 10 PM from Feb. 9 through April 6 will be the new medical drama Off the Map. With …
Shonda Rhimes/Jenna Bans’ new ABC medical drama Off the Map will premiere Jan. 12 and will succeed the network’s recently cancelled new legal drama The Whole Truth in the Wednesday 10 PM time slot. ABC had originally planned to premiere Off the Map in the same time slot it once used to launch Grey’s Anatomy, Sundays 10 PM after Desperate Housewives. In preparation for the move, ABC gave the slot’s regular dweller, Brothers & Sisters, an 18-episode order in May. But then the veteran family drama did solidly in the ratings in the first few weeks of the season, leading to an order for 4 more episodes. Meanwhile, ABC brass were happy with Off the Map, ordering extra scripts and eventually 6 additional episodes. That made it impossible for the two series to share the Sunday 10 PM time period, and, with The Whole Truth done, Off the Map was slotted on Wednesdays. Off the Map, set at a medical clinic in the South American jungle, was created by Bans who is executive producing with Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Gretchen Berg. Aaron Harbert and director Randy Zisk. While the other networks are yet to unveil any midseason scheduling plans, ABC has been quietly putting in place key pieces of its midseason schedule. The network recently announced that V will return on Jan. 4 and will run in the Tuesday 9 PM slot.
UPDATE: Here is what Shawn Ryan just said about the name change of his new Fox series: ”Changing the title from Ride-Along to THE CHICAGO CODE reflects our belief that this is more than just a cop show. It’s not just about the police, but also politics, the Midwest, history, Government corruption and the city’s code. Plus adding ‘Chicago’ to anything is always a good idea.”
PREVIOUS: Shawn Ryan’s new Chicago-based cop drama for Fox, Ride-Along, has been renamed. It will now be known as The Chicago Code. The change was made to better reflect the the importance of the show’s Chicago setting. … Meanwhile, ABC has ordered 5 more scripts from the Shonda Rhimes-produced upcoming ABC drama Off The Map. That’s in addition to the extra script ABC picked up two weeks ago, bringing the total order to 6 additional scripts. Nice vote of confidence for the medical drama created by Jenna Bans.
Full Seasons For ABC’s ‘Better With You’ & ‘No Ordinary Family’, More ‘Detroit 1-8-7′ & ‘Brothers & Sisters’, No More ‘Whole Truth’
ABC today became the latest broadcast network to make its full-season pickups, handing out back-nine orders to freshman comedy Better With You and drama No Ordinary Family. Additionally, the network has picked up 5 additional episodes from freshman cop drama Detroit 1-8-7 and 4 from veteran family drama Brothers & Sisters. Missing from the list is new legal drama The Whole Truth, which already has been on shaky ground and is preempted again next week. The series will stay on the air but the network doesn’t plan to order more episodes beyond the original 13. The episodic orders follow the pickup of 4 additional scripts each for No Ordinary Family and Brothers & Sisters 2 weeks ago. It brings the order for Brothers & Sisters to a full-season 22 episodes, up from the 18 ordered in May, meaning that ABC is probably considering a change in its launch plans for midseason drama Off the Map, which was to premiere in Brothers & Sisters Sunday 10 PM slot. (Off the Map also recently received an order for an additional script.)
Good news for ABC freshman No Ordinary Family — the supernatural family drama just received an order for 4 additional scripts from the network, the only new fall ABC series to get such an order. The network also picked up 4 more scripts from veteran Sunday family drama Brothers & Sisters, which was given a reduced 18-episode order in May but has performed solidly in the ratings this fall. The third ABC series to get an additional script order is Shonda Rhimes/Jenna Bans’ midseason medical drama Off the Map with one extra script picked up. Additional script pickups are usually a precursor to firm episodic orders. The script order to No Ordinary Family is not surprising as the Greg Berlanti-produced drama has emerged as ABC’s most promising hourlong fall series, mostly because the others have all struggled mightily.
Former Twilight co-star Rachelle Lefevre has joined the cast of the Shonda Rhimes-produced new ABC medical drama Off the Map as a regular. Additionally, AMC officially announced the casting of Michael Rooker (Jumper) and Norman Reedus (The Boondock Saints) in its upcoming series The Walking Dead and gave details about their characters. On Off the Map, Lefevre will play a new character, a young doctor, on the series created by Jenna Bans, which is set at a understaffed, under-stocked medical clinic in South America founded by a top American surgeon (Martin Henderson). Co-starring on the series, which is slated to launch in midseason behind Desperate Housewives, are Caroline Dhavernas, Enrique Murciano, Mamie Gummer, Jason George, Valerie Cruz and Jose Julian. Lefevre has a fresh medical acting experience, having played a confident young doctor on CBS’ untitled JohnWells-produced medical drama pilot this past development season.
On Walking Dead, based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, Rooker and Reedus will play brothers Merle Dixon (Rooker) and Daryl Dixon (Reedus), one a redneck ex-con and the other equally as dangerous.