PRIMETIME PILOT PANIC: Early Buzz Update

By | Thursday April 19, 2012 @ 1:39pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

With the upfronts three and a half weeks away, we are in the final stretch of the the mad dash we call broadcast pilot season as pilots are being cut, re-cut, tested, delivered and screened. Because so may pilots were … Read More »

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ABC Pilots Add Quartet Of Actors

By | Friday March 9, 2012 @ 10:20am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Karen LeBlanc has been added to the cast of ABC’s pilot Beauty And The Beast. She will play, Ehren, a role originally written for a man. Ehren is the de-facto head of the rebel band that wants to see Emperor … Read More »

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2nd UPDATE: NBC Picks Up 8 Comedies Including Greg Daniels’ ‘Friday Night Dinner’

By | Monday January 23, 2012 @ 4:42pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

NBC Picks Up Dick Wolf-Produced Drama, Jason Katims/Jason Ritter Project

2nd UPDATE: NBC brought the total number of pilots picked up today to 10 with two more comedy orders: to Greg Daniels’ adaptation of the British comedy Friday Night Dinner and an untitled half-hour produced by Jimmy Fallon. Both are from Universal TV.

Friday Night Dinner is a single-camera about a quirky family that has dinner together every Friday night. Daniels is executive producing with Howard Klein and the original series’ producer Big Talk TV. The project has already been doing preliminary casting, with David Koechner eyed for a role.

The Jimmy Fallon multi-camera project, written by Charlie Grandy, revolves around three thirtysomething guys who enjoy the adventures of parenting despite the fact they haven’t grown up themselves. Fallon, Grandy and Amy Ozols are executive producing. This marks the first pilot for Fallon’s company Holiday Road. Read More »

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Lifetime’s ‘Modern Love’ Pilot Adds To Cast

By | Friday September 2, 2011 @ 5:28pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Cara Buono, Ally Sheedy and Samantha Futerman are set to co-star opposite Eric Stoltz in Lifetime’s dramedy pilot Modern Love, from Sony Pictures TV. Created and executive produced by Sex and the City alumna Jenny Bicks, the project weaves … Read More »

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A&E Passes On ‘Big Mike’, Leans Toward Picking Up ‘Longmire’ To Series

By | Wednesday July 27, 2011 @ 7:09pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

After a lengthy screening and decision-making process for their two pilots Longmire and Big Mike, A&E brass just passed on one of them, Big Mike. No official decision has been made on Longmire yet, but buzz on the project starring … Read More »

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Lifetime’s Pilots ‘Meet Jane’ & Untitled Michael Sardo Not Going Forward

By | Wednesday July 27, 2011 @ 12:55am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Lifetime has quietly passed on its remaining two pilots, Meet Jane and the untitled Michael Sardo project. Of the five pilots ordered under new Lifetime president and general manager Nancy Dubuc, two, Against the Wall and Exit 19, were … Read More »

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Primetime Pilot Panic: ABC & CBS Updates

Nellie Andreeva

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:

ABC

Assured … Read More »

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Primetime Pilot Panic: Screenings Updates

Nellie Andreeva

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 … Read More »

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Hope Davis To Star In HBO’s Comedy Pilot ‘Spring/Fall’, Jake Kasdan To Direct

By | Wednesday April 6, 2011 @ 4:13pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Hope Davis is set to star opposite Tea Leoni in HBO’s half-hour comedy pilot Spring/Fall. Jake Kasdan has come on board to direct the project, which is set in New York City against the backdrop of the fashion world and centers on the dysfunctional partnership between Margo (Leoni) and Eden (Davis), two women with different approaches to career, family and friendship. Margo is a successful designer and a happily married mother of 5-year-old twins working for famous fashion designer Victor Cross. When he commits suicide, Margo takes over his line and quickly realizes she’s in over her head, so she reaches out to her estranged former best friend and collaborator Eden, a onetime famous fashion designer herself, and convinces her to come work for her. Read More »

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Several More Actors Join Broadcast Pilots

Nellie Andreeva

Danneel Ackles (formerly Harris) and Jamie Lee Kirchner have landed the last 2 leads in NBC’s comedy pilot I Hate That I Love You. The single-camera project, from writer/exec … Read More »

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Katee Sackhoff, 3 More Cast In A&E Pilot ‘Longmire’

By | Friday March 25, 2011 @ 4:45pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Battlestar Galactica alumna Katee Sackhoff has been cast as the female lead opposite Robert Taylor in A&E’s hourlong pilot Longmire. Also cast in the project, based on the Walt Longmire Mystery series of novels by Craig Johnson, are Lou Diamond Read More »

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PILOT SEASON LOCATIONS: New York Production Booming, Canada Loses Ground

By | Friday March 11, 2011 @ 12:19pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

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

In August, New York State’s Film Production Tax Credit Program was extended and expanded to $420 million per year. Several months later, pilot production in the Big Apple is back in a big way. Nine broadcast drama pilots are filming there now, including such high-profile entries as NBC’s Prime Suspect and Smash, ABC’s Pan Am and CBS’ Susannah Grant. That is up from zero last year. (The pilot for CBS’ New York-set Blue Bloods only shot some footage there.) The giant leap puts New York almost on par with the traditional location leader, Los Angeles, which houses 11 of the 42 drama pilots ordered by the broadcast networks  this season. That extends the continuous decline of the number of drama pilots shot in L.A. over the past decade. (Last year, 14 of the 43 broadcast drama pilots were filmed in there.) But with virtually all comedy pilots shooting in Los Angeles this season (ABC’s Bad Mom is the only one filming elsewhere, in Orlando), and the overall number of broadcast pilots creeping down every year, the percentage of all broadcast pilots (drama and comedy) produced in L.A. this year, 60%, was up a tick for a second straight year (59% in 2010, 57% in 2009).

Meanwhile, fewer pilots, six, are being filmed north of the border this year (a seventh, Fox’s Alcatraz, shot in San Francisco and Vancouver). Last year, that number was nine. The most dramatic reverse of the runaway production trend is at the CW, which traditionally films pilots and series in Canada. Last season, the network shot five of its six pilots in Canada and one in Thailand. This year, half of its six pilots are being produced in the U.S., with the others in Canada. For the bigger-budget drama pilots at the Big Four networks, shooting in Canada this year is tied mostly to creating elaborate settings, like the magical worlds in ABC’s Once Upon a Time and NBC’s 17th Precinct and 1840s Boston in ABC’s Poe.

Part of the reason for more TV studio executives to consider keeping drama pilot production in the U.S. is that the current currency exchange rate makes production in Canada less appealing than in years past. But also key are tax incentives offered in the states. On a standard hourlong pilot budget of $3 million, 10%-25% in tax rebates represents a nice saving. For instance, two of the three CW pilots shooting in the U.S., Hart of Dixie and Cooper & Stone, are being produced in states with tax incentives, North Carolina and Illinois. The locations also happen to fit the settings of the shows, which producers always wish for but only get when economics allow.

The Illinois incentives put in place by ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich made Chicago the hottest pilot location last year with five projects filmed there: dramas Ride-along (now The Chicago Code), A.T.F., Pleading Guilty and Matadors and comedy Friends with Benefits. This year, that number is two, both shows set in the Windy City: NBC drama pilot Playboy and CW’s Cooper & Stone. Other pilots whose setting and filming location match this season include Fox’s Bones spinoff The Finder (Miami), NBC’s Prime Suspect and Smash (New York) and ABC’s Good Christian Bitches (Dallas). Read More »

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Kris Polaha Among Latest Pilot Additions

Nellie Andreeva

Life Unexpected star Kristoffer Polaha has been tapped for a co-starring role on the CBS/CBS Studios drama pilot Ringer. The project centers on troubled young woman Bridget (Sarah Michelle Gellar) who, while on the run from the mob, hides out … Read More »

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Independently Produced Comedy Pilot Gears For Production

By | Wednesday March 9, 2011 @ 3:39am PST
Nellie Andreeva

It’s pilot season, and a slew of comedy pilots are getting ready for production. But a  half-hour project called Workers Comp is taking a different route to the small screen. First, it was written by two 19 year olds: Castille … Read More »

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‘Pan Am’ Hires Male Lead, ‘Smothered’ Gets Female Lead And More Pilot Castings

Nellie Andreeva

Jonah Lotan (Generation Kill) has landed the male lead in ABC’s drama pilot Pan Am. The project, from Sony Pictures TV, writer Jack Orman and director Thomas Schlamme, is a sexy soap set against the Jet Age that … Read More »

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ABC Pilot Castings: Natalie Dormer To Star In ‘Poe’, Judith Light Joins ‘Kids’

Nellie Andreeva

The Tudors alumna Natalie Dormer is set as the female lead opposite Chris Egan in ABC’s drama pilot Poe. The project, from Warner Bros. TV and Lin Pictures, is a crime procedural following Edgar Allan Poe (Egan), the … Read More »

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Jeffrey Tambor Joins NBC’s ‘Bent’, ‘Work It’ Finds Lead, Two Added To ‘Council Of Dads’

Nellie Andreeva

Arrested Development alum Jeffrey Tambor is set to co-star in NBC’s single-camera comedy pilot Bent. The project, from writer/exec producer Tad Quill, is a romantic comedy about recently divorced Type-A single mother Alex (Amanda Peet), who tries hard not to … Read More »

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Madchen Amick, Kelli Garner Get Pilot Leads

By | Tuesday March 8, 2011 @ 11:15am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Madchen Amick has landed the female lead in Stephan Gaghan’s NBC drama pilot S.I.L.A., a complex drama in the vein of Traffic set in the world of crime, law enforcement and politics in modern-day Los Angeles. Amick, repped by Gersh … Read More »

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PILOT SEASON: Source Material – Books & Public Domain Properties Are In, Twitter Out

Nellie Andreeva

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

Once upon a time, there was a pilot season ruled by classic fairy tales and characters, real-life stories and books, with a dash of iconic brands and foreign … Read More »

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