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PILOTS 2014: The Latest Buzz

By | Friday April 25, 2014 @ 10:09pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

panic-buttonWe’ve reached the point when the fate of pilots is out of the hands of their creators and into the hands of network executives. In the next two weeks, the execs will rely on testings, internal screenings and (occasionally) their gut to pick a couple of dozen pilots that will join the schedule next season. CBS, as usual the last of the broadcast networks to start greenlighting pilots in January, surprisingly was the first to kick off its screenings today. The rest will join next week. Here is the latest buzz on pilots at the five broadcast networks as well as TNT and TBS, which also will be picking up new series to present during upfront week.

Related: PILOTS 2014: More Early Buzz

cbs-logo__120711164808__121116195436__130108233101__130716162250__130926192712__131121001522Things are tight as usual at CBS, which might not pick up more than 3 new drama series, 4 tops. At least one of them will be a spinoff. The network has in contention planted NCIS and CSI spinoffs. Both are part of CBS-owned franchises that are extremely popular internationally, with another series guaranteed to bring a financial windfall for the company as it would be folded into existing output deals. Of the two, the New Orleans-set NCIS offshoot is a traditional spinoff that carries much of the DNA of the original, even more so than existing spinoff series NCIS: LA. Meanwhile, CSI: Cyber is a departure from the forensic nature of the CSI franchise, dealing with the darker subject matter of cyber crime. It is the riskier of the two, but it also has the potential to break new procedural ground the way the original introduced forensic science to crime dramas. Both projects are fronted by proven TV stars: Scott Bakula (NCIS) and Patricia Arquette (CSI). NCIS: New Orleans already aired and is considered a very solid contender, while the Cyber episode of CSI runs this coming week. The network would wait to see the reaction to the episode before moving to the next stage of decision-making. Of the non-spinoffs, The Tea Leoni-starring Madam Secretary is considered a front-runner. The untitled Kevin Williamson thriller tested well. I hear it is dark, but it comes from the creator of The Following, so that can’t be a surprise. A limited order in line of The Following is a possibility. Nick Santora’s Scorpion and Nikki Toscano’s Red Zone also are in the mix, possibly vying for one slot if there is a slot left. The Wall Street drama seems to be cooling off. (Vince Gilligan-David Shore’s Battle Creek has a straight-to-series order.)

Related: CBS Renews 9 Drama Series, 5 Comedies; No ‘Mentalist’ Or ‘Crazy Ones’

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Several More New Series In Recasting Mode; Returning Ones Add/Cut Regulars

By | Wednesday May 23, 2012 @ 1:46pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Revolution Pilot JJ AbramsBroadcast networks and studios continue to make tweaks to their newly picked-up series, changing and recasting some of the roles. NBC’s highest-profile new drama, J.J. Abrams-Eric Kripke’s Revolution, is reconceiving one character and phasing out another. The action drama follows a group of people struggling to survive in a world where all forms of energy have ceased to exist. The character of Rachel, mother of two of the leads, is being reworked, leading to the departure of Andrea Roth. Rescue Me alumna Roth, who was sought after this past season, played the role in the pilot after getting a straight offer. Meanwhile, the character played in the pilot by Anna Lise Phillips, a doctor, will no longer be regular. Phillips is expected to do several episodes to wrap the character’s storyline.

NBC PilotsIt’s been a busy recasting season at NBC, which made the first two major casting changes heading into the upfronts, opting to replace Julian Lawson on new drama Infamous and Amy Huberman on comedy Animal Kingdom. Additionally, the option on Khary Payton from the pilot for new comedy Go On is not being picked up. The role will not be recast. The role played by Lamman Rucker in the pilot for NBC’s comedy Save Me will be recast. There is no decision yet how the network will proceed with the regular role in another NBC comedy pilot, Guys With Kids, played as a guest star by Sara Rue, who is departing as her pilot in first position, ABC’s Malibu Country, was picked up to series. I hear NBC is weighing the options to write off the character or recast the role. Read More »

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PRIMETIME PILOT PANIC: Which Pilots Look Good At ABC

By | Friday May 11, 2012 @ 11:50am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

ABCUPDATE FRIDAY AM: I’ve started hearing that drama pilot ZERO HOUR is heating up again and looks promising for a series order.

PREVIOUS THURSDAY 8PM: With NBC and Fox pretty much done with their new series pickups, ABC, which presents its fall schedule right after them on Tuesday, is at bat next. Here is my last take on the ABC pilot field heading into tomorrow, when the network is expected to make its picks. On the drama side, NASHVILLE is on the schedule. Fellow soaps AMERICANA and RED WIDOW (formerly Penoza) also look strong, along with the male-skewing LAST RESORT, which I hear may be launched as a limited/midseason series. In the magical series face-off between 666 PARK AVE and GOTHAM, (Beauty & The Beast has dropped out of contention), 666 seems to have the upper hand but that could change. I hear Marc Cherry’s DEVIOUS MAIDS is fading fast though one should never count Cherry out. MISTRESSES has a series order. On the half-hour side, the Reba McEntire starrer MALIBU COUNTRY, the MANDY MOORE comedy and the DAN FOGELMAN alien sitcom, now called Neighbors, look good. COMEBACK JACK (form. Red Van Man) and Claudia Lonow’s HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS are also in contention, while there is speculation that early favorite AMERICAN JUDY may be redeveloped in lieu of a straight pickup as ABC … Read More »

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NBC Bets On Single-Camera Comedies And J.J. Abrams In Early Orders: Analysis

By | Monday May 7, 2012 @ 11:14pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

The New Normal NBC PilotNBC went on a comedy pickup spree today, ordering four new series to join previously ordered Go On. That includes 1600 Penn, The New Normal, Save Me and Animal Practice. All five are single-camera, the format that has completely dominated NBC’s comedy slots since the network’s last big multi-camera comedy series, Will & Grace, went off the air in 2006. The quintet includes one workplace comedy, Animal Practice, a genre that has dominated NBC’s Thursday comedy block for the last few years. It also features two family comedies, a genre NBC had been looking to get into, both with a twist and an edge: a blended family of a gay couple and a surrogate (The New Normal) and a dysfunctional First Family living in the White House (1600 Penn). The remaining two comedies, Save Me and Go On, have a somewhat cable sensibility as they are centered on a flawed/wounded central character.

Related: ’1600 Penn’, ‘Animal Practice’, ‘New Normal’, ‘Revolution’ & ‘Save Me’ Picked Up To Series At NBC

Missing from the list of NBC comedy pickups so far are multi-camera sitcoms. The network was very bullish on the multi-camera format earlier this pilot season, with 30% of its pilot orders going to traditional sitcoms. Despite being shut out today, multi-camera comedies will still likely have some presence on NBC’s schedule next year. There are three multi-camera pilots that are still in contention, with NBC expected to make a decision shortly. The Jimmy Fallon-produced Guys With Kids, which is meeting with writers, is considered a strong bet. If multi-camera freshman Whitney is indeed going away, its is logical to assume that NBC would pick up a companion for Guys between the two other multi-camera pilots still in the running, Daddy’s Girls, which has been gaining momentum, and early standout Lady Friends, which has lost some steam. (Also a possibility for midseason is singe-camera magical family comedy Isabel. The remaining NBC pilots, Friday Night Dinner, Sarah Silverman, Hilary Winston and Downwardly Mobile, are no longer in contention.)

Related: First Speculative NBC Schedule Surfaces Read More »

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PRIMETIME PILOT PANIC: Pre-Upfront Week Update

By | Monday May 7, 2012 @ 9:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE: I hear speculation that NBC’s FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER is unlikely to go forward, which would open up a slot for another comedy pilot. The chances of the network’s freshman Whitney to return also appear slim.

PREVIOUS: Brace yourself: a wave of new series pickups and existing show renewals are coming our way this week. NBC, which is first off presenting its fall lineup next Monday morning, is expected to lead the way, followed closely by Fox, which is holding its upfront Monday afternoon.

NBC Pilots 2012NBC is expected to order about 6-8 new comedy series and 4-5 dramas. The network, which has been very secretive about its testings and screenings this year, gave an indication of some of its favorites when it allowed several pilots to start making staffing offers last week. The list includes five comedy pilots: the single-camera 1600 PENN, THE NEW NORMAL, SAVE ME and FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER (the latter is backed by by Greg Daniels’ veteran NBC series The Office, meaning that the writer-producers signed for FND would segue to The Office if the pilot doesn’t go) and the multi-camera GUYS WITH KIDS. With the Matthew Perry starrer GO ON already picked up, NBC has pretty much filled up its comedy quota. But in case one of two of those five don’t go or NBC opts to pick up more than 6 new comedy series, multi-camera comedy pilot DADDY’S GIRLS has been gaining momentum and has a real shot, with the single-camera ANIMAL KINGDOM also percolating. On the drama side, CHICAGO FIRE, medical dramas COUNTY and DO NO HARM, action drama REVOLUTION (which has been given permission to start making staffing offers), and mystery soap NOTORIOUS are picking up steam. A pickup of the Dick Wolf-produced Chicago Fire is expected to seal the renewal of Wolf’s veteran procedural Law & Order: SVU. Early forntrunner MIDNIGHT SUN, a thriller based on an Israeli format, prison drama BAD GIRLS and Western FRONTIER have gone quiet, but it is still possible for NBC to take a swing with an unusual concept.

Related: Primetime Pilot Panic: 3rd Hot List Update Read More »

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Primetime Pilot Panic: 3rd Hot List Update

By | Friday May 4, 2012 @ 5:15pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

2ND UPDATE FRIDAY: Another NBC comedy frontrunner, 1600 PENN, has been given permission to begin making staffing offers, moving it closer to a series pickup.

UPDATE THURSDAY PM: I hear Greg Daniels’ comedy pilot FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER also has been given permission to start making staffing offers. But I’ve learned that those offers are backed by Daniels’ veteran NBC series The Office, meaning that the writer-producers signed for FND would segue to The Office if the pilot doesn’t go.NBC Pilots

PREVIOUS 11 AM THURSDAY: About halfway through the broadcast networks’ screenings this week, it doesn’t look like there have been major surprises, with most early frontrunners solidifying their positions. NBC, which is looking to launch a number of series in August, right after the end of its coverage of the Summer Olympics, has been moving the fastest, picking up the first pilot to series, the Matthew Perry-starring single-camera comedy Go On, and giving several others permission to make staffing offers. In addition to single-camera comedies THE NEW NORMAL and SAVE ME, I hear also allowed to begin a hiring process are the Jimmy Fallon-produced multi-camera comedy GUYS WITH KIDS and J.J. Abrams/Eric Kripke’s action drama REVOLUTION, which had been very quiet after a late start. We might see more series pickups today as there is a rumor this morning that the network may order as many as three new series before the day is over. (UPDATE: That rumor turned out … Read More »

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Primetime Pilot Panic: 2nd Hot List Update

By | Friday April 27, 2012 @ 5:53pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

CBS today kicked off the next stage in the pilot season ritual — the network screenings, where a large pool of network executives weigh in on this year’s crop of pilots. The rest of the broadcast networks will follow suit next week when we will start getting a better picture of how the contenders for a spot on the schedule for next season stack up. For now, here is what I have been hearing on the various pilots based on early reactions:

The only mystery surrounding the UNTITLED KEVIN WILLIAMSON project at Fox seems to be where it will land on the Fox schedule and whether it would launch in the fall or midseason. The other four drama contenders seem to have formed pairs. The two female CIA operative pilots, UNTITLED KARYN USHER and THE ASSET, have been jockeying for a slot, with Karyn Usher starting ahead, then The Asset catching up, and now Karyn Usher possibly getting an edge again. Then there are GUILTY and the UNTITLED BERMAN/WRIGHT mob doctor drama, which both tested well at their studios with high marks for their stars Cuba Gooding Jr and Jordana Spiro, respectively. Both have a real shot, with Berman/Wright probably a bit stronger at the moment. Its chances were helped by the fact that Fox veteran House is ending its run, leaving the network without a medical franchise for next season. On the comedy side, the UNTITLED MINDY KALING female doctor half-hour appears to be headed to Fox’s comedy block as a possible companion to New GirlBEN FOX IS MY MANNY, a late delivery after it replaced its lead after the table read, reportedly got thumbs-up from Fox brass after they just saw it for the first time. The stronger than expected showing for the pilot, about a guy working as manny for his sister, shakes up the sibling comedy race at Fox, which includes early standout LITTLE BROTHER, which has lost some momentum but remains solid, and GOODWIN GAMES, which also came out OK. Of the others, REBOUNDING and EL JEFE are still in serious contention, while buzz has been just OK on PRODIGY/BULLY, mixed on LET IT GO and not so good on LIKE FATHER and LIVING LOADED.

Related:
PRIMETIME PILOT PANIC: Early Buzz Update
PRIMETIME PILOT PANIC: The Early Buzz

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PILOT SEASON 2012: American Actors Not Fairest Of Them All In Pilot Lead Castings

By | Tuesday March 6, 2012 @ 10:00am PST
Nellie Andreeva

There are two Beauty And The Beast pilots this season, one at ABC and one at the CW, with the search for actors to play the title roles among the most closely watched this season. In the end, none of the leads went to American actors. The title roles in the ABC Beauty And The Beast, which adheres closer to the classic fairy tale, went to young Irish actress Ruth Bradley (Grace aka Beauty) and Scottish singer-actor Darius Campbell (Shiro aka Beast). The CW pilot, based on the 1980s series, cast in the title roles Canadian beauty Kristin Kreuk (Catherine) and New Zealand-born Australian hunk Jay Ryan (Vincent). Of the four, only Smallville alumna Kreuk is a name in the U.S., while the other three are virtually unknown. Additionally, the ABC project has a third lead, a dashing prince, who will be played by Australian Chris Egan. It is true that Beauty And The Beast’s origins are not American — it started off as a French fairy tale — but it is closely associated with its most famous adaptation by Disney. Even though American screen adaptations of fairy tales tend to have some protagonists speak with a British accent, the complete shutout of American actors from the major characters in the two Beauty And The Beast projects is surprising. Especially after ABC’s hit fairytale series Once Upon A Time employs mostly American actors in the primary cast, including lead Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White), Lana Parrilla (Evil Queen) and Josh Dallas (Prince Charming). Read More »

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Primetime Pilot Season: The Overachievers

By | Friday February 17, 2012 @ 8:16am PST
Nellie Andreeva

If the broadcast development season were a reality competition show, we would now be in the final round where some 85 pilots are battling for spots on next season’s schedule. And while the winners won’t be known until the upfronts in May, here are the overachievers in the pilot stage of the competition.

Greg Berlanti — he killed it in his first development season at his new (old) studio home, Warner Bros. Television. Berlanti and his company Berlanti Prods. sold five projects to the broadcast networks. Four of them netted pilot orders: Guilty at Fox written by Marc Guggenheim, an Nicholas Wootton-written drama at CBS, Arrow at the CW, penned by Berlanti, Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg, and a comedy at CBS written by Berlanti and Greg Malins. And if that’s not enough, while working on his broadcast development Berlanti found time to write a cable spec, Political Animals, which just received a six-episode straight-to-series order by USA Network and is now casting alongside Berlanti’s broadcast pilots.

Aaron Kaplan — the one-man selling machine. Since founding his company, Kapital Entertainment, two-and-a-half years ago with his own money, the former WMA agent has landed 12 pilot orders while operating independently without the backing of a studio. Four of them came from the broadcast networks this season, all comedies: The Manzanies and the untitled Dan Fogelman project at ABC and Daddy’s Girls and Isabel at NBC. (Technically, there are 5 Aaron Kaplan broadcast pilots this season. The lit manager by the same name is executive producing the Adam Sztykiel ABC comedy pilot, and the matching names have created a lot of confusion and wrongly addressed emails.) Like Berlanti, Kaplan is casting a cable project along with his 4 broadcast pilots, Darren Star’s HBO comedy pilot Viagra Diaries starring Goldie Hawn. He also has several other projects in pilot contention, two upcoming series: ABC’s GCB and MTV’s The Inbetweeners, and a third one awaiting word on Season 2, Fox’s Terra Nova.

Mark Gordon, Marty Adelstein & Shawn Levy and Jamie Tarses. The Mark Gordon Co., Adelstein & Levy’s 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods. and Tarses’ Fanfare landed 3 pilot orders each this broadcast pilot season. The ABC Studios-based Mark Gordon Co., which has 4 series on the air, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, CBS’ Criminal Minds and Lifetime’s Army Wives, is behind 3 ABC pilots: dramas Americana and the Roland Emmerich project and comedy White Van Man. Additionally, the company has a cable pilot casting, the Showtime drama Roy Donovan starring Liev Schreiber. In its second year, 20th TV-based 21 Laps/Adelstein, whose first development season produced ABC’s solid freshman Last Man Standing, is fielding the untitled Karyn Usher drama pilot at Fox and comedies Little Brother at Fox and the Mandy Moore project at ABC. Sony TV-based Fanfare, which has 3 series on the air, ABC’s Happy Endings, TNT’s Franklin & Bash and TBS’ upcoming Men At Work, is shepherding CBS’ Baby Big Shot, NBC’s Hilary Winston and Fox’s cast-contingent Must Hire. Additionally, 3 Arts’ Howard Klein is an executive producer on 3 pilots, Greg Daniels’ Friday Night Dinner at NBC, Mindy Kaling’s Fox comedy and Melissa Rosenberg’s ABC drama Penoza. Read More »

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Showtime Picks Up Pilots From Andrew Gurland, Michelle Ashford & Ann Biderman

Nellie Andreeva

Showtime has greenlighted three pilots: Andrew Gurland’s docu-comedy Gurland on Gurland, Michelle Ashford’s drama Masters Of Sex and Ann Biderman’s dramedy Ray Donovan. This marks the second round of pilot orders for Showtime’s new entertainment president David Nevins. The first one included drama Homeland and comedy House of Lies, both of which went to series.

Gurland on Gurland is a first-person documentary comedy written, directed and starring filmmaker Andrew Gurland (The Last Exorcism, The Virginity Hit), which reflects his real family life and the challenges he faces pursuing the next phase of his career. The pilot hails from CBS TV Studios, with Gurland, managed by Principato-Young, and studio-based Glenn Gordon Caron executive producing. This marks the first Showtime pilot from the cable division of sibling studio CBS TV Studios. It was developed by the division’s former head Bela Bajaria, who recently departed to run Universal Media Studios. On the broadcast side, Medium creator Caron just sold a drama project to CBS executive produced by James Mangold and Cathy Konrad.

Masters of Sex, from Sony Pictures TV, is an adaptation of Thomas Maier’s book Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love and chronicles the lives and the intriguing, unusual relationship between Masters and Johnson, the pioneers into the science of human sexuality whose research touched off the sexual revolution. Ashford wrote the script and is executive producing with Timberman/Beverly Prods’ Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly, who set up the project while at Sony TV. (The company, which has three series on the air — FX’s Justified and CBS’ upcoming Unforgettable and A Gifted Man — moved to CBS Studios last summer.) Read More »

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3RD UPDATE: ABC Picks Up 7 New Dramas, 5 Comedies, ‘Smothered’ Still Alive

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 1:10 PM: The last comedy pilots to get the nod at ABC today are Suburgatory and the cross-dressing Work It. Another buzzed-about pilot, Smothered, has not been picked up but remains in contention. Among those that are not moving forward is Other People’s Kids.

UPDATE 12:50 PM: ABC picked up a third new comedy, Chris Moynihan’s Man Up.

UPDATE 12:35 PM: ABC just picked up seven new drama series, early standouts Good Christian Bitches, now Good Christian Belles, and Charlie’s Angels, as well as Once Upon A Time, Pan Am, Revenge, Shonda Rhimes’ Scandal and The River. Some are for midseason. The high-profile drama pilots not to get an order include Poe, which was an early favorite of ABC chief Paul Lee but lost traction after poor testing, and Marc Cherry’s spiritual drama Hallelujah.

PREVIOUS 12:25 PM: ABC is just now making a flurry of calls to producers. The first confirmed pickups went to comedy frontrunners Apt. 23 and the Tim Allen project, now called again Last Man Standing.

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Spike TV Greenlights 6 Unscripted Pilots

By | Wednesday May 11, 2011 @ 3:02pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Spike TV has picked up six unscripted pilots from such producers as SallyAnn Salsano (Jersey Shore), who is behind Pawn Games, a pawn shop-set version of her hit for the network Repo Games; Ben Silverman; Tom Forman; David Page; and companies Zodiak USA and Zoo Prods. “All feature real men in real high-stakes situations with great take-away information,” said Spike’s EVP original series Sharon Levy. The orders are part of Spike’s effort to broaden its target male audience from the core men 18-34 to men 18-49 demos. The network is ready to pick up to series all of the pilots that turn up well. Spike’s upcoming reality series include Bar Rescue, InkMasters and Car Boss as well as the returning Deadliest Warrior and Auction Hunters. Here is a list of Spike’s newly picked up pilots: Read More »

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2011 Much Better For Women Pilot Writers

By | Sunday May 8, 2011 @ 7:50pm PDT

2010 was the worst network pilot season for women writers and showrunners. So back then I asked Neely Swanson to analyze why. She is the former SVP of Development for David E. Kelley Productions, and presently an adjunct professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in the writing division. Here, exclusive to Deadline. is her new analysis of the 2011 season for women pilot writers:

womenHollyThe earth didn’t just move, it was an earthquake for women pilot writers in 2011. Television audiences judge with their remote controls and it’s doubtful whether anyone has ever watched a TV show because it was written by a man or a woman. But this year, for some unexplained reason, women were hilarious, just as last year, for some reason, they weren’t.

The 2010-2011 pilot season was arguably the worst in the last 10 years for women writers. There was no credible explanation for the truly horrible numbers that emerged. As I pointed out in an article written last year, Women Can’t Create and White Men Can’t Jump, of last year’s big 4 pilots, only 20% were written by women or male/female writing partners: 24% for dramas and 16% for comedies. Considering only pilots written by a woman or a team of women, the numbers fell even more drastically to 11%. The only bright spot was CW, which may have produced only 6 pilots, but 50% of them were written by women.

Very little worked last year so minds opened

Read More »

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It’s Official: TNT Picks Up ‘Perception’ To Series, Renews ‘Southland’ For Season 4

By | Tuesday March 22, 2011 @ 11:39am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

TNT just announced that it has picked up drama pilot Perception to series with a 10-episode order and has renewed cop drama Southland for a fourth season, also with a 10-episode order.

Perception, which will premiere next year, stars Eric McCormack as a neuroscientist who works to solve complex criminal cases. Also starring  in the ABC Studios-produced series are Rachael Leigh Cook, Arjay Smith and Kelly Rowan. Perception was created by executive producer Kenneth Biller and co-executive producer Mike Sussman, with McCormack serving as producer. Alan Poul directed and served as executive producer for the pilot. “When we saw the pilot for Perception, it confirmed what we thought from the first pitch: It’s a perfect fit for TNT’s original series lineup,” said TNT’s head of programming Michael Wright. “With its blend of intensity, emotion, humor, smart storytelling, sharp direction and a buzz-worthy performance from Eric McCormack, Perception is a hugely entertaining show we believe TNT viewers will love.”

Southland, which wrapped up its third season March 8, stars Michael Cudlitz, Shawn Hatosy, Regina King and Ben McKenzie. The series has averaged 2.9 million viewers this season, up 6% compared to Season 2. Southland, which started off on NBC, hails … Read More »

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PILOT SEASON: The End Of Ageism?

Nellie Andreeva

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

Maybe it’s the Tom Selleck/Kathy Bates effect, but the broadcast networks seem more open than ever to shows fronted by older leads this pilot season. Until recently, actors in their 60s and late 50s were relegated to supporting parts as parents or grandparents of TV shows’ main characters. Now they’re the main attraction. Michael Patrick King’s NBC drama pilot A Mann’s World stars 62-year-old Don Johnson. CBS’ pilot The Doctor is toplined by 61-year-old Christine Lahti. ABC has an untitled comedy pilot written for and starring 57-year-old Tim Allen. And ABC’s drama pilot Grace is headlined by 55-year-old Eric Roberts.

The trend started last year with several pilots going older with their leads than the characters had been originally written. Blue Bloods (then Reagan’s Law) whose lead was supposed to be 50-59 year-old, cast 66-year-old Tom Selleck. David E. Kelley’s Harry’s Law (then Kindreds) was written for a male lead aged 53-57. It ended up casting 62-year-old Oscar winner Kathy Bates and tweaking the character. The most dramatic  “aging up” in the casting process  happened on the ABC procedural Body of Proof (then Body of Evidence) whose lead Megan was conceived as 35-40 years-old. The producers met several actresses in that age range before they thought of Dana Delany (55) who was eventually cast in the role. Additionally, CBS last summer … Read More »

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AMC Spices Up Development Process With Script Bake-Off, Winners To Get Pilot Orders

By | Friday March 11, 2011 @ 7:47pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

What’s cooking at AMC? It’s the cable network’s second annual pilot script showcase called “bake-off,” which took place from Monday to Thursday this week at a hotel in Los Angeles. In it, six scripts identified by AMC brass as finalists for a pilot order faced off in a series of elaborate presentations, with the producing team for each project showing a promo reel and each creator pitching in detail the series beyond the pilot, including mapping out the first season. In the next couple of weeks, AMC executives will mull over the presentations and are expected to announce one or two winners from the bake-off, whose scripts will go to pilot. I hear that the number of pilot pickups will depend on whether AMC lands the MRC-produced David Fincher-Kevin Spacey drama project House of Cards. AMC is one of several cable networks bidding on the project, with HBO and Starz also said to be in the running. If AMC lands House of Cards, it is expected to pick up one pilot developed internally; if not, two of the six scripts showcased this week will probably get green light.

This is the second year AMC is doing the bake-off. Among the projects competing in last year’s event was Hell on Wheels, which went to pilot and then to series.

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