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PILOT SEASON: The Rise Of Limited Series

By | Tuesday May 7, 2013 @ 12:47pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Days after last year’s upfront in New York, History‘s Hatfields & McCoys burst onto the scene, shattering ratings records and reviving the limited-event series form. Over the last 12 months, event series have continued to gain momentum, with History launching another blockbuster in The Bible, and Fox, FX and Spike announcing big pushes in the arena. The genre also has been factoring into the network’s ongoing pilot discussions and may have presence at the upfronts next week. “It seems to be the du jour concept these days,” one industry insider said. “If you call a drama a limited event series, you maintain series options on the actors while at the same time maintain the project’s international value. And if you market them well, they bring in audience.”

One of the highest-profile drama prospects for next season, ABC’s Once Upon A Time spinoff, has been developed as a limited series to air 13-episode arcs every season in the vein of FX’s American Horror Story. Such a potential scenario also has been mentioned for a number of other serialized/high-concept drama pilots should they get a series order: ABC’s Gothica and Big Thunder, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow and CBS’ Hostages. CBS already is branching into the genre this coming summer with Under The Dome, originally developed as a regular series. The CW, whose president Mark Pedowitz last season was among the first to embrace the concept, did midseason entry Cult as a limited-type series and is looking to do more next season, with The Selection among those considered for a limited run. Fox’s The Following and ABC’s Red Widow too had been conceived with cable-style shorter seasons in mind. Read More »

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PRIMETIME PILOT PANIC: The Latest Buzz

By | Sunday April 28, 2013 @ 4:54pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

It’s pilot screening time. CBS just started viewing its pilots, with the other networks slated to follow over the next few days. Feedback from the screenings and extensive focus group testing inform the networks’ series pickup decisions and are capable of catapulting a pilot from an also-run to frontrunner status overnight, as it happened with CBS’ Blue Bloods three years ago. Here is what I hear as of this weekend, with information still missing on a few late pilots.

Related: Complete Primetime Panic Pilot Listings

Drama Lucky 7 may live up to its name. The blue-collar ensemble about gas station employees who win the lottery seemed a little off brand for ABC and its glitzy dramas. But I hear the project based on a British format, which hadn’t drawn much attention, came in above expectations, making it a contender in what’s shaping to be a very tight race. It’s tight because two slots have already been penciled in for Marvel‘s S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Once Upon A Time spinoff, whose early footage I hear ABC brass liked. Also boosted by corporate synergy is major contender Big Thunder, based on the Disney ride. Word is ABC may choose one of its two soapy pilots, Westside and Betrayal, with Westside having the edge at the moment. (However, Betrayal‘s David Zabel has two irons in the fire as he is also behind Lucky 7.) The gothic soap Gothica has cooled off a bit while high-concept The Returned, about deceased coming back to life as their old selves, is heating up after another great pilot directing performance by Charles McDougall who, in his typical fashion went over on filming days (by 4 I hear) but delivered a strong pilot. Among the character procedurals, Murder In Manhattan, Doubt, Killer Women and Influence all seem in the mix. Read More »

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ADVISORY: Deadline’s Primetime Pilot Panic Section Now Features Pilot Listings

By | Wednesday March 2, 2011 @ 5:10am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Up-to-date network-by-network pilot listings are now available at the top of Deadline’s Primetime Pilot Panic section, which features all of our news coverage of the current pilot season. The listings are being updated with new information daily. The comments sections on each network listing will be activated shortly, so you will be able to sound off.

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Primetime Pilot Panic: My Summary

By | Monday May 12, 2008 @ 10:41am PDT

So upfronts week is here. And news about the networks’ pickups, renewals and cancellations has been slowly trickling in (slower than previous years). Here are my posts, including TV topic stories, in case you missed any from the past 2 weeks:

  • Primetime Pilot Panic: ‘Filthy Rich’ OKed
  • Primetime Pilot Panic: SAY IT AIN’T SO! Tori Spelling In ‘90210′?
  • Attention, Les & Barry: Broadcast Giant Files For Bankruptcy, Blames CW Ratings
  • Primetime Pilot Panic: CBS ‘Unit’ Probably
  • Primetime Pilot Panic: ‘90210′ Picked Up; ‘Rich Girls’ Probably; CW Renews ‘Game’
  • Primetime Pilot Panic: Fans Can Rejoice; Joss Whedon’s ‘Dollhouse’ Welcomed
  • Primetime Pilot Panic: CBS Pickups
  • Primetime Pilot Panic: ‘Boston Legal’ OK; Kelley’s ‘Life On Mars’ Probable At ABC
  • Primetime Pilot Panic: CBS Rejects Geena
  • Primetime Pilot Panic: Fox Nixes ‘Spaced’; And Good News For Shaun Cassidy Pilot
  • Primetime Pilot Panic: CW’s ‘90210′ News
  • Primetime
  • Read More »

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    Primetime Pilot Panic: Still More News

    By | Friday May 9, 2008 @ 5:39pm PDT

    LATEST: Fox Sitcom ‘Back To You’ Cancelled; ‘The Inn’ Pilot Picked Up

    Here are more updates: I’ve just been told that The Inn (20th Century Fox TV /  Reveille / Principato-Young Entertainment) was given the go-ahead by Fox to meet writers. I’m not sure if they can hire yet, “but it’s looking good,” a source explains. Directed by Jason Bateman, the pilot ”is indeed good at FBC, and it screened best.” Bruce Helford is gone from the Bernie Mac starrer Starting Under (WBTV / Mohawk), so the Fox comedy now needs a new showrunner. “The pilot stinks, but they want Bernie on air,” a source explains. And the sitcom My Best Friend’s Girl (Sony Pictures TV) is “heavy in the mix of CBS half-hours.” Also, NBC isn’t making any changes in its already announced schedule at Monday’s upfront.

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    Primetime Pilot Panic: UPDATED Info

    By | Friday May 9, 2008 @ 10:16am PDT

    3rd UPDATE: Fox Sitcom ‘Back To You’ Cancelled; ‘The Inn’ Picked Up

    2nd UPDATE: I’ve just been told that The Inn (20th Century Fox TV /  Reveille / Principato-Young Entertainment) was given the go-ahead by Fox to meet writers. I’m not sure if they can hire yet, “but it’s looking good,” a source explains. Directed by Jason Bateman, the pilot ”is indeed good at FBC, and it screened best.” Bruce Helford is gone from the Bernie Mac starrer Starting Under (WBTV / Mohawk), so the Fox comedy now needs a new showrunner. “The pilot stinks, but they want Bernie on air,” a source explains. And the sitcom My Best Friend’s Girl (Sony Pictures TV) is “heavy in the mix of CBS half-hours.” Also, NBC isn’t making any changes in its already announced schedule at Monday’s upfront.

    UPDATE: I am told that Life On Mars (20th Century Fox TV) is getting completely recast and reshot except for Jason O’Mara. But ABC has ordered the drama pilot nonetheless. Amazing, and it’s not even clear if David E Kelley will stay with it. I am also told that two ABC comedy pilots, The More Things Change (Regency) and the Untitled Cedric The Entertainer (ABC TV Studios), are dead at the network.

    To date my April 24th “Hot List” of primetime pilots is holding up. But one alarming trend I’m seeing is that Big Media … Read More »

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