June 30 marked the deadline for TV studios to pick up the options on the casts of broadcast pilots and series whose fate was still in limbo. Good news for fans of Fox’s midseason comedy Breaking In: The options on the series’ actors have been picked up until Nov. 15. And, in a rare move, I hear the network, Fox, has pitched in, splitting the cost of the option extension with producing studio Sony Pictures TV. Fox’s decision to cancel the Christian Slater-starring comedy after a brief midseason run was one of the biggest surprises this past upfront season.
Among the pilots left in contention for midseason, Fox’s comedies Little In Common and Family Album remain in the running for Fox’s two-hour, four-show midseason Tuesday comedy block. But both projects will undergo some tweaking as reflected in their producing studios’ decision to pick up only parts of their casts. Read More »
Between the VIP section of newly picked up series and the pilot of rejected pilots is the no man’s land of pilots that are neither dead nor picked up yet. Here is a rundown on what is still alive and which dead pilots are looking for life elsewhere:
EXIT STRATEGY: Fox passing on the Ethan Hawke-starring action drama pilot was one of the biggest surprises on Tuesday when Fox made its series pickups. But the project, from 20th TV and Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman’s K/O Paper Products, is very much alive at the network for a possible midseason order. Veteran director-producer Ken Olin has come on board to help with the retooling of the project. He worked with Orci and Kurtzman on Alias where he also met K/O president Heather Kadin, then an ABC exec. Olin is expected to serve as co-showrunner if Exit Strategy is picked up to series. The pilot has been praised for the look established by director Antoine Fuqua but I hear that Fox brass felt the action needed to be infused with more character. Olin is already pitching ideas to do that, working alongside creator David Guggenheim who comes from the feature world and has no TV experience. Besides Hawke, a rare bona fide movie star to agree to do a broadcast series, Exit Strategy has something else going for it – the huge popularity surrounding Seal Team Six, the elite group that killed Osama … Read More »
With Fox done with its series orders and NBC pretty much done too, attention is focusing on ABC and CBS. ABC is expected to make its series pickups tomorrow. Here is the latest buzz on the two networks:
Assured to get series orders are early frontrunners GOOD CHRISTIAN BITCHES and CHARLIE’S ANGELS, along with the modern fairy tale ONCE UPON A TIME. Shonda Rhimes’ PR drama SCANDAL looks solid, with one or both of PAN AM and procedural IDENTITY also expected to get a green light. Thriller THE RIVER is rumored for an order, though it’s unclear if it will be a regular or limited-series one. Other possibilities on the drama side include the Hamptons-set REVENGE, which has been gathering momentum, and Marc Cherry’s HALLELUJAH, possibly for midseason with some retooling, while 1840s detective show POE has been fading.
On the comedy side, the TIM ALLEN pilot, APT. 23 and SUBURGATORY are considered a go, with SMOTHERED, WORK IT and BAD MOM as possibilities.
With CBS’ most guarded secret — who will replace Charlie Sheen — out, a lot of the intrigue surrounding CBS’ presentation next week is gone. Luckily, we still have series pickups and schedule to try to figure out. On the drama side, the rise of the J.J. Abrams/Jonah Nolan crime drama PERSON OF INTEREST remains in what is considered a frontrunner status. Ensemble cop drama ROOKIES and procedural THE REMEMBERER also appear strong. PI … Read More »
The marathon pilot screenings at the broadcast networks are in full force. While they are rarely the deciding factor in the networks’ final series pickup decisions, they help solidify early standouts’ frontrunner positions and sometimes breathe life into pilots that might have been written off too soon. Here are some updates I heard today. (If some pilots, like ALCATRAZ and POE, are not mentioned in this update, they are in the one from yesterday, so check out that one too.)
The only element of uncertainly about GOOD CHRISTIAN BITCHES‘ future as a new ABC series next season seems to be what it will be called as it will definitely won’t be GCB. After a great screening today, the dramedy executive produced by Darren Star appears a sure thing, possibly as a companion to Desperate Housewives given that it’s been referred to as “Desperate Housewives in Dallas.” Probably the biggest surprise today was the mixed reaction to Shonda Rhimes’ drama SCANDAL, once considered a lock. But with Rhimes behind it, the project is still in the running. Also mixed was the reaction to family/dance drama GRACE, which once again got praise for its elaborate dance sequences and not so much for the narrative. Still a possibility to run behind Dancing With the Stars. Early comedy favorites, SUBURGATORY and SMOTHERED, continue to fly high after good screenings today and yesterday, respectively. Reaction to the Jenna Elfman-starring comedy BAD MOM was more mixed. … Read More »
Andrew J. West (Greek) is set as the lead in NBC’s untitled Dan Goor pilot. The multicamera comedy, from writer-exec producer Dan Goor, centers on Adam Foote (West), a young doctor who joins his parents’ medical practice and spends as much time tending to his family as to his patients. Jean Smart was recently cast as his mom. West is with ICM and Group Management.
Marcia Gay Harden is set for a co-starring role in the ABC multi-camera comedy pilot Smothered, from Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen. The project centers on young couple Zack (Kyle Howard) and Gillian, who find themselves smothered by their two very different sets of parents. Harden will play Zack’s pretentious, often overbearing mother.
Sherri Saum (Gossip Girl) has landed a lead in ABC’s drama pilot Grace, from writer Krista Vernoff. A dysfunctional family drama set in the world of professional dance, it centers on Michael Grace (Eric Roberts), a famous choreographer who tends to sleep with his dancers and has three daughters with different mothers. He is in danger of losing his studio until his daughter Sarah (Abigail Spencer), a dancer-turned-lawyer, decides to buy her father’s studio and run it for him. Saum will play Grace’s second daughter, a beautiful, bright … Read More »
The Emmy-winning team of Anthony and Joe Russo have come on board to direct Fox’s comedy pilot The Council of Dads, from writer-executive producer Peter Tolan and Sony Pictures TV. Last year, the Sony TV-based directors who won an Emmy for directing the pilot of Arrested Development, helmed 2 pilots, ABC’s Happy Endings and Fox’s Running Wilde, both of which got picked up to series. The Russos also directed the pilot for the NBC comedy series Community.
Feature director David Slade (Eclipse) is in negotiations to direct REM, Kyle Killen’s drama pilot for NBC and 20th described as an Inception-style thriller about a cop living in two different realities. This is the second consecutive pilot for Killen, who last year had Lone Star. Both attracted feature directors, Marc Webb and Slade, respectively, with both helmers making their pilot debuts.
Chris Koch, who directed the pilot for Fox’s midseaosn series Traffic Light, is on board to direct another single-camera comedy pilot, ABC’s Bad Mom, created by and co-starring British writer-actress-comedienne Sharon Horgan and produced by ABC Studios and Kapital Entertainment.
Veteran multicamera helmer Andy Ackerman has signed on to direct the ABC family comedy pilot Smothered, from Friends alums Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen. He is already attached to direct another half-hour pilot this season, I Hate My Teenage Daughter for Fox, and is eying a third, the Marisa Coughlan-penned Lost & … Read More »
ABC has made its first comedy pilot pickups this season, ordering Man Up, from 100 Questions creator Chris Moynihan and an Smothered, from Friends alums Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen.
The ABC Studios/Tagline-produced Man Up stems from writer-actor Moynihan’s two-script deal with the studio. In addition to writing and executive producing, Moynihan is set to co-star in the project, a look at what it takes to survive as a modern man, as told through the eyes of three best friends and the women in their lives. Also executive producing are Tagline’s Ron West and Kelly Kulchak. Moynihan is with Rothman Brecher and Thruline. (This is not to be confused with Jack Burditt’s comedy script Man Up, also at ABC, which has Tim Allen circling.)
The Warner Bros. TV-produced Smothered is based on Reich and Cohen’s real-life experiences and centers on a young couple who find themselves smothered by their two very different sets of parents whose only thing in common is that their children are married to each other. Reich and Cohen are with WME.