After two development cycles and two pilots, the CW is throwing in the towel on bringing Keira Cass’ book The Selection to the small screen. By all accounts, the second pilot, which was shot in Budapest, was an improvement over last year’s effort. But in the end I hear the finished product, while beautifully shot, was not compelling enough. I hear CW brass felt that there was no room for two kings-and-castles series on the schedule, and Reign came in stronger.
Joey McIntyre & Jessica Chaffin Join CBS Pilot ‘The McCarthys’, CW’s ‘The Selection’ Brings Back Peta Sergeant
EXCLUSIVE: Actor-singer Joey McIntyre has been cast in CBS/Sony TV single-camera comedy pilot The McCarthys. Also added to the pilot, written by Brian Gallivan, directed by Fred Savage and executive produced by Will Gluck, is Jessica Chaffin, joining previously cast Jacki Weaver, Jake Lacy and Jack McGee. The McCarthys revolves around an Irish-Catholic, sports-crazed Boston clan and the gay son (Lacy) whose greatest sin is not his sexuality but his desire to spend less time with his family. McIntyre will play Gerard McCarthy, the one short guy in the family who is mad about it. Chaffin, repped by CAA and attorney Jeff Endlich, plays his sister Jackie, who swings wildly from overconfidence to insecurity, and is completely unaware that she’s her mother’s (Weaver) least favorite. This marks McIntyre’s first regular series gig since David E. Kelley’s Boston Public. At CBS, he is joining fellow New Kids On The Block bandmate Donnie Wahlberg, who co-stars on Blue Bloods. McIntyre, repped by Domain and KLWGN, will next be seen in Paul Feig’s The Heat with Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock.
EXCLUSIVE: The CW has set directors for three of its drama pilots. Alex Graves will direct and executive produce The Selection. Written by Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain, Selection is based on the book by Kiera Cass. Set 300 years in the future, the epic romance centers on a working-class young woman chosen by lottery to participate in a competition with 25 other women for the Royal Prince’s hand to become the nation’s next queen. This marks the second Selection pilot ordered by the CW; the first one last season was directed by Mark Piznarski. Last year, Graves directed the pilot for ABC’s horror/mystery drama 666 Park Ave. He also helmed the pilot for Fox’s Fringe as virtually all of his pilots have gone to series. Additionally, Graves directed the two-hour opener of Fox’s Terra Nova.
Another director whose pilot last season went to series, Bharat Nalluri, is back on pilot-directing duty. He will direct and executive produce The Hundred. Written/executive produced by Jason Rothenberg, the pilot is based on the books by Kass Morgan. Set 97 years after a nuclear war has destroyed civilization, it revolves around 100 juvenile delinquents sent back to Earth to investigate the possibility of re-colonizing the planet. Warner Bros TV and Alloy are producing. Last season, WME-repped Nalluri directed the pilot for the CW’s Emily Owens MD.
The CW had been open to launching as many as six new drama series next season and it may still do it. The network picked up five pilots to series and the one that just missed the cut, The Selection, remains in serious contention. I hear CW brass are planning to sit down with the producers of the project next week to discuss its redeveloping. Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain, who wrote the adaptation of Kiera Cass’ novels, are expected to remain on board but instead of staying close to the source material as they did this season, they will likely use the books more of a jumping-off point the second time around. The cast is expected to change, but the CW and The Selection studio Warner Bros TV are looking to keep the lead – Friday Night Lights‘ Aimee Teegarden — who got high marks. The project is being put on a fast track and, if it comes together, could join the CW’s schedule in midseason. “I truly believe that there is a series in The Selection,” CW president Mark Pedowitz said after the network’s upfront presentation today.
As part of Pedowitz’s efforts to re-introduce comedy series on the network, the CW developed several half-hour scripts. None of them was picked up to pilot — Pedowitz explained the decision with the need to stabilize the schedule, which is done easier with hourlong series. Now that he feels the lineup is in good shape, Pedowitz said he will focus attention on comedies. Of the half-hour scripts that the CW developed this past cycle, two remain in contention: an adaptation of the 2009 British comedy FM starring pre-Bridesmaids Chris O’Dowd, about two radio DJs and their producers; and the Ben McMillan- and Josh Greenbaum-written and Craig Zadan- and Neil Meron-produced Swordfighting, about two young couples. While one of the scripts is written as a single-camera and one as multi-, both may be done as single-camera as the CW will likely re-introduce scripted comedy to its drama-heavy lineup with single-camera shows. Like The Selection, the two comedy projects could be piloted off cycle and launch later in the season.
The broadcast networks left an uncharacteristically small number of pilots in midseason contention this year. The strongest among them is the Fox drama Guilty starring Cuba Gooding Jr, who tested very high. The network picked up …
The CW has made five new drama series pickups, with all early standouts making the cut. That includes the Sex And The City prequel The Carrie Diaries, the Green Arrow-themed Arrow, the contemporary reboot of the 1980s series Beauty and the Beast, mystery Cult and medical drama First Cut starring Mamie Gummer.
Picking up five new scripted series is a record for the CW which, under new topper Mark Pedowitz, has vowed to increase the amount of originals on the air at any time, avoiding long spells of repeats. The CW also has been planning to employ the cable model of shorter seasons with some of its series, including Cult, which had been envisioned from the get-go as doing 13 episodes a season. There had been speculation that the CW would pick up as many as 5-6 of its eight pilots to series. The sixth drama pilot that had been in serious contention but did not get a nod today was the book adaptation The Selection whose chances were boosted by its similarities to the blockbuster Hunger Games movie franchise. Were those similarities too close for comfort?
The large number of new series pickups does not bode well for the CW many bubble series but a couple, like Hart of Dixie, Gossip Girl and maybe Nikita, would likely make the cut. Studio-wise, three of the five new CW series, Carrie Diaries, Arrow and Cult, hail from Warner Bros. TV, the other two from CBS TV Studios. Two of the series are co-produced by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s WBTV-based Fake Empire, while Arrow is with Berlanti Prods.
(RE-POSTED FROM FRIDAY): Back by popular demand: Deadline’s Pilot Buzz lists. We’re earlier than normal this year while pilots have generally been late, with only a handful of them having cuts by now and the vast majority still in various stages of production. Therefore, everything on this list has to be taken with a gigantic grain of salt as a lot could change between a table read and a final cut. Take NBC’s comedy pilot SAVE ME for example. After some mixed and even negative chatter early on, mostly related to the tone of the show, originally developed for Showtime, the tide changed completely over the last two days when people saw the completed pilot, which is getting high marks. The list also doesn’t cover every pilot as some of them have not gotten into production yet or feedback has been insufficient:
The network already has one new scripted series on tap for next season, HANNIBAL, which I hear may go for midseason. With the network in such bad shape after years of neglect and bad decisions by previous regimes, NBC seems to have cast a very wide net this season, developing a vast range of projects that are all over the map, making it harder to handicap. On the drama side, mystery MIDNIGHT SUN and the Jekyll & Hyde-esque DO NO HARM are getting some solid early buzz. The Jason Katims/Jason Ritter medical drama COUNTY, which just wrapped, also has been getting positive feedback. Western-esque THE FRONTIER, which is shooting in Australia, is getting notices for its rich look. Comedy-wise, ANIMAL KINGDOM is hot, as is White House family comedy 1600 PENN, despite a last-minute recasting, as well as the Matthew Perry starrer GO ON and Greg Daniels’ FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER. The network also is high on a couple of multi-camera comedies, the untitled KARI LIZER and JIMMY FALLON projects, with TABLE FOR THREE also looking encouraging so far. The Ryan Murphy/Ali Adler blended family comedy THE NEW NORMAL is still shooting but, with the auspices involved, it is considered a strong contender. NBC brass seem to like the SARAH SILVERMAN pilot, which had an early order, but Silverman is considered acquired taste, so a lot will depend on testing.
The KEVIN WILLIAMSON project was very strong at the script stage, got even stronger with the casting of Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy, and seems to be sailing through production. Meanwhile the untitled KARYN USHER teen-spy drama, which also was an early standout during the script phase, then hit a speed bump in casting the lead, which took a very long time, now appears to be in great shape, with newcomer Saxon Sharbino getting strong reviews. The Williamson and Karyn projects seem to be the top drama contenders at the moment,
The CW today gave the green light to three more drama pilots: J.J. Abrams and Mark Schwahn’s Shelter; Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain’s The Selection; and Bert Royal’s Joey Dakota, which has Mark Harmon executive producing. That brings the total number of hourlong pilots picked up at the CW this year to …