Here is Deadline’s annual list of The Overachievers Of Pilot Season. For anyone, landing a pilot is a major accomplishment. These selected few took that achievement to the next level.
Related: PILOT SEASON: The Overachievers 2012
Aaron Kaplan. Proving that his fast start as a producer was not just beginner’s luck, the former WMA agent has become a force to be reckoned with during pilot season. This year he landed five pilot orders, one more than last year and a new personal best. All five are comedies — ABC’s Pulling, Bad Management and the untitled Cullen brothers project, CBS’ Friends With Better Lives and NBC’s The Gates — as are Kaplan’s on-air series, ABC’s The Neighbors and Nick at Nite’s Wendell & Vinnie, as well as another Nick pilot, Instant Mom. On the drama side, he has pilots Terminals, which is nearing a series pickup at ABC Family, and HR at Lifetime, which is casting. In a world of vertical integration, Kaplan operates as an independent one-man shop.
Another independent, management/production company 3 Arts, has four pilots, also all comedies: NBC’s untitled Greg Daniels/Robert Padnick, untitled Owen Ellickson & Craig Robinson and untitled John Mulaney/Lorne Michaels projects, as well as Fox’s untitled Dan Goor/Mike Schur project.
Writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky are having a banner year. The Office alums and writers of the 2011 feature Bad Teacher are behind three broadcast comedy pilots — ABC’s Pulling, which they wrote and executive produce, as well as ABC’s Trophy Wife and CBS’ Bad Teacher adaptation, which they executive produce. Additionally, their HBO comedy pilot with Stephen Merchant, Hello Ladies, was picked up to series. READ MORE »
EXCLUSIVE: Former Rescue Me showrunner Peter Tolan has come on board legal drama Rake — starring and co-executive produced by Greg Kinnear — as executive producer/showrunner. The project is set up at Fox with a pilot production commitment plus series penalty. Tolan succeeds Paul Attanasio, who was originally attached as showrunner when Rake was taken out to broadcast and cable networks in late September but had to pull out before the deal with Fox was completed because of other commitments. Rake is based on the popular Australian series whose co-creator Peter Duncan will write the U.S. adaptation under Tolan’s supervision.
Like Rescue Me — toplined by Denis Leary, who co-created the series with Tolan — Rake is a starring vehicle with a flawed character at the center. It also has a similar sensibility of a drama with comedic overtones. Rake follows the chaotic world of criminal defense lawyer Cleaver Greene (Kinnear). Brilliant, iconoclastic and innately self-destructive, he has a mind-numbing lack of discretion and a total inability to pause before speaking his mind. From bigamists to cannibals and everything in between, the clients Cleaver loves most are those whose cases appear to be utterly hopeless without him realizing that he, himself, is perhaps the most desperate case of all. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Peter Tolan is heading back to the firehouse. In a competitive situation, ABC has landed Angela’s Bachelors, a singe-camera comedy written by the Rescue Me co-creator, which will be set at a Boston firehouse. I hear that the project, … Read More »
Sony Pictures TV has sold three more comedy projects to the broadcast networks: a U.S. version of the French-Canadian format Les Invincibles to Fox with Family Guy executive producer Chris Sheridan writing and Luke Greenfield (Something Borrowed) directing, and an untitled half-hour to ABC with Peter Tolan executive producing. Sony TV’s tally now stands at 49 comedy sales this season. Additionally, the studio has sold a drama from comedy veterans Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah to NBC.
The Invincibles revolves around three guys and one girl, all in their 20s, who make a pact to simultaneously dump their girlfriend or boyfriend (or quit their job if unattached) and reclaim their lives. CAA-repped Greenfield was the driver behind the project and brought in Sheridan as a writer. The two are executive producing with 3 Arts’ Tom Lassally and Jonathan Berry. (I couldn’t find a trailer in English but, for the francophones out there, there is one in French below. In the original version, the four leads are all guys.) Read More »
Peter Tolan has closed a deal to write Sean Hayes’ comedy project for NBC. Tolan will co-pen the script with his producing partner Michael Wimer. As a result, Sony Pictures TV, where Tolan is based with an overall … Read More »
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
It was supposed to be a sober, nostalgic, reflective visit with Rescue Me writer-producer-star Denis Leary, showrunner Peter Tolan and castmates Steven Pasquale and Callie Thorne as the iconic FX firefighter hour wraps up seven seasons on Sept. 7, four days before the 10th anniversary of 9/11. What it turned into Saturday morning at TCA was the most raucous and entertaining panel of the 12-day event to date, as Leary and Tolan put on a show for critics bleary-eyed from the nonstop coverage that finally wraps Monday.
Things started to get crazy about halfway through the 30-minute panel, when Leary observed with his usual manic energy, “You guys have spent, what, three fucking weeks here talking to TV people and now you’re fuckin’ bored.” Tolan then picked up the ball and added, “I’m going to take my pants off.” That led into a fresh rant from Leary, who railed: “By the way, USA (Network) is fuckin’ raiding Rescue Me. (Steven) Pasquale’s shooting a pilot (Over/Under) for them. Callie (Thorne) is starring in a show (Necessary Roughness) for ‘em. I’m writing a pilot for ‘em.” Tolan: “I’m doing very mild janitorial work. … And working for just a few weeks as (USA programming chief) Jeff Wachtel’s fluffer.”
Shortly thereafter, to help boost the excitement of the festivities, Tolan stood and pulled down his pants to reveal very oddly colored briefs. Much laughter and applause ensued. A critic then tried to ask a serious question: Does Leary fear that his role on Rescue Me is one he will now always be identified with, perhaps to his detriment? Tolan decided to intercept that one: “When you say that Denis will be remembered for this part, I think you’re forgetting Operation Dumbo Drop.” The room roared. Read More »
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
With their seriocomic firefighter drama Rescue Me ending its run on FX in September, series co-creators Denis Leary and Peter Tolan are embarking on another series project together. “I guess I can say right now that Mr. Leary and I are tomorrow starting writing on our next show, a half-hour for him to star in,” Tolan told Deadline today after the TCA panel on the final season of Rescue Me. He described it as “strictly a comedy, like nothing we’ve done before. It’s not a traditional comedy, probably for cable. We’re doing it totally on spec and taking it out.” Before Rescue Me, Leary and Tolan co-created the underrated ABC cop comedy The Job, which also starred Leary. Tolan said that after 10 years of working together, first on The Job and then on Rescue Me, he figures that he and Leary “have some connection in our comic sensibilities.” Leary has another half-hour project in the works as a writer: He recently signed on to co-pen with Bob Fisher an adaptation of the upcoming British series Sirens for USA Network. Read More »
In his first series writing gig since FX’s Rescue Me, Denis Leary is set to co-pen an adaptation of the upcoming British series Sirens for USA Network. Leary will co-write the half-hour project about the antics of young paramedics with Bob Fisher, who most recently adapted another foreign comedy format, Israeli’s Traffic Light, for Fox. Leary and Fisher will executive produce with Leary’s producing partner at Apostle Jim Serpico, and Hal Vogel and David Aukin of Daybreak Pictures. Apostle will co-produce with Fox TV Studios, where the company has an overall deal for cable projects, in association with Daybreak. (For broadcast series, Apostle has a pact with CBS TV Studios.) It was during a general meeting Leary, Serpico and FtvS execs took with USA that Leary and Serpico mentioned Sirens. The USA brass were eager to get in business with the producers and asked to see a script of the British series. “When we read the material, we fell in love with the leads,” USA’s SVP original scripted programming Bill McGoldrick said. The project is not being written as a starring vehicle for Leary and for now he is only attached to co-write and executive produce, but there is a possibility for him to take on a small role if the comedy goes to series. Created by Brian Fillis, the six-episode UK series Sirens was inspired by EMT paramedic Tom Reynolds’ book, Blood, Sweat and Tea. It revolves around a trio of paramedics who bicker, fight and shag their way through the darkly funny maelstrom of their lives. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The always in-demand Kyle Bornheimer is set to co-star in Peter Tolan’s comedy pilot for Fox Council of Dads. Inspired by Bruce Feiler’s non-fiction book, the pilot, which is being directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, tells the story … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The Job and Rescue Me alumna Diane Farr is reuniting with the two series’ co-creator Peter Tolan. She is set as the female lead in Fox’s comedy pilot for Fox Council of Dads. Also set as leads in the … Read More »
Ed Begley Jr., Nick Braun (Red State) and Will Greenberg (Cloverfield) have been cast as leads in Peter Tolan’s comedy pilot for NBC Brave New World. The single-camera project, from Sony Pictures TV, is a workplace comedy that follows 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 »
Fox has picked up 2 more single-camera comedy pilots, Peter Tolan’s The Council of Dads and Joe Port and Joe Wiseman’s Family Album.… Read More »
The always refreshingly blunt Peter Tolan delivered another memorable performance at a HRTS luncheon today, moderating the Hollywood Radio and Television Society’s annual showrunner panel. It is safe to assume that Tolan will probably not get a Golden Globe nomination … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Rescue Me co-creator/executive producer Peter Tolan has sold his 4th project to the broadcast networks this pitch season: The Council of Dads, a half-hour comedy based on the non-fiction book by Bruce Feiler. In doing so, Tolan landed one of the biggest commitments so far this year. I hear that, after bidding from multiple networks, The Council of Dads, which Tolan will write and executive produce, has been given a $1.5 million pilot production commitment by Fox. Sony TV, where Tolan is based, is producing. Read More »