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PILOT SEASON: Source Material – Books & Public Domain Properties Are In, Twitter Out

Nellie Andreeva

Part of a series that takes an analytical look at the current broadcast pilot season and some of its trends and heroes.

Once upon a time, there was a pilot season ruled by classic fairy tales and characters, real-life stories and books, with a dash of iconic brands and foreign formats.

Projects based on source material are very popular this pilot season, with public domain properties emerging as the hot novelty in the arena with two pilots, ABC’s Once Upon a Time and NBC’s Grimm, featuring popular fairytale characters like Brothers Grimm’s Snow White and Rumpelstiltskin as well as evergreens the Evil Queen and Prince Charming. Also based on a public domain property is ABC’s drama pilot Poe, about Edgar Allan Poe investigating mysteries in 1840s Boston, while another ABC drama pilot, Revenge, is a contemporary re-imagining of Alexandre Dumas, pere’s The Count of Monte Cristo.

Two iconic U.S. brands, Playboy and Pan Am, also inspired pilots this season, NBC’s Playboy and ABC’s Pan Am, both period dramas set in the 1960s.

Overall, books were the most ubiquitous source material among this year’s crop of broadcast pilots. The trend started during pitch season, when projects based on books were a hot property, and carried over to pilot season, with a significant portion of … Read More »

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Robert Carlyle & Emma Bell Join Broadcast Pilots

Nellie Andreeva

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.

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Ginnifer Goodwin Joins ABC Drama Pilot ‘Once Upon A Time’ As Snow White

Nellie Andreeva

Big Love co-star Ginnifer Goodwin has been tapped for a lead role in ABC’s drama pilot Once Upon a Time. The project, from Lost executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, centers on a woman with a troubled past who is drawn into a small town in Maine where the magic and mystery of Fairy Tales just may be real. Goodwin will play Snow White/Sister Mary Margaret, a beautiful woman with dark hair and very pale skin who has been placed under a wicked spell by the Evil Queen (Lana Parrilla), and is brought back from a living death by Prince Charming. WME-repped Goodwin has been busy in features lately with He’s Just Not That Into You, A Single Man and the upcoming Something Borrowed.

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Several Actors Board Broadcast Pilots

Nellie Andreeva

ABC’s comedy comedy pilot has found the leads for its comedy pilot My Freakin’ Family: Ellen Woglom and Ravi Patel. Christopher Rich also has been cast in the project, which centers on two young parents, Anna (Woglom) and Raj (Patel), whose lives change after they have a baby and the four grandparents with very different cultural backgrounds descend upon their lives to fight for the soul of their grandchild. Rich will play Anna’s dad, an affable suburban cowboy. Harish Patel was previously cast as Raj’s dad. Ravi Patel, repped by TalentWorks and Seven Summits, played the lead in Fox’s comedy pilot Nevermind Nirvana last year.

Janet McTeer is set to co-star in the Fox drama pilot Weekends at Bellevue. Based on Dr. Julie Holland’s memoir, Bellevue centers on a psychiatrist in charge of the weekend shift of Bellevue Hospital psychiatric unit. McTeer, nominated for an Oscar in 2000 for Tumbleweeds,  will play Diane, the head of psychiatry at Bellevue.

Zoe Lister-Jones has been cast in NBC’s untitled Whitney Cummings comedy pilot. The project, written by Cummings, centers on young couple Whitney (Cummings) and Alex (Chris D’Elia) who tackle the ups and downs of a committed relationship  torn between their friends Lily (Lister-Jones) and Neal who think … Read More »

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Three More Broadcast Pilots Find Directors

Nellie Andreeva

British helmer Mark Mylod (Entourage), who directed the pilots for the U.K. series Shameless and its U.S. version on Showtime, has signed on to direct ABC’s drama pilot Once Upon a Time. The project, from Lost executive producers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, centers on a woman with a troubled past who is drawn into a small town in Maine where the magic and mystery of Fairy Tales just may be real.

John Dahl, who has helmed multiple episodes of Dexter, Californication and Justified, is set to make his pilot directing debut with the CW’s Cooper and Stone. The pilot, from writer-exec producer Laurie Arent and CBS TV Studios, is about two smart young female detectives on Chicago’s North Side who are best friends, equally adept at discussing fashion, music, pop culture as they are solving homicides. At the CW, UTA-repped Dahl has directed episodes of The Vampire Diaries and Hellcats.

Veteran Saturday Night Live helmer Beth McCathy-Miller will direct Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen’s multicamera comedy pilot for ABC Work It, from Warner Bros. TV. It centers on two out-of-work car salesmen who realize that it is now a woman’s world and decide that in order to find work again and succeed they are going to have to dress as women to get jobs as pharmaceuticals reps. This is the second … Read More »

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