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Pilot Season: High-Concept Dramas, Male- Centered Comedies & Zombies On The Menu

Ray Richmond, who is contributing to Deadline TV coverage, is taking an analytical and irreverent look at the recurring themes in these year’s crop of broadcast pilots.

In assessing the 79 series pilots that are competing for primetime slots at the five broadcast networks during the 2011-2012 season, a few trends quickly emerge, namely: manhood is under siege, parents are obsessed with meddling, zombies are alive and well (relatively speaking), opposites attract, and just about everybody seems to be on some sort of rebound. Moreover, pretty much every permutation of domestic life and dysfunction is being trotted out for a once-over as the networks seek to uncover the next Modern Family or Two and a Half Men. And the popularity of Glee has helped to inspire a musical bent for three pilots.

Multicamera comedy is making a strong showing beyond its usual singular home of CBS. Too, high-concept drama is having a modest resurgence – and both period soaps (ABC’s Pan Am, NBC’s Playboy) and reboots of past classics (NBC’s Wonder Woman from David E. Kelley, ABC’s Charlie’s Angels) are again in vogue, at least in the pilot world. Another hour (ABC’s Grace, from writer-exec producer Krista Vernoff) sounds remarkably like the plotline for the 1979 Bob Fosse film classic All That Jazz, with this one starring Eric Roberts in the lead as a famed choreographer who sleeps with his dancers and has three daughters with different mothers.

Besides Grace, those tuneful contenders … Read More »

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Adrianne Palicki Is NBC’s Wonder Woman

Nellie Andreeva

After her standout performance on Fox’s short-lived drama Lone Star, there was a lot of talk about Adrianne Palicki’s star potential. She is on her way to prove it by landing one of the most iconic TV roles, that of Wonder Woman. Friday Night Lights alumna Palicki has been tapped for the title role in NBC’s Wonder Woman pilot, David E. Kelley’s reimagening of the iconic D.C. comic. In the reboot, from Warner Bros. TV, Wonder Woman/Diana Prince (Palicki) is a vigilante crime fighter in L.A. but also a successful corporate executive and a modern woman trying to balance all of the elements of her extraordinary life. Kelley is executive producing the project with long-time collaborator Bill D’Elia. Palicki won the role of Wonder Woman, closely associated with Lynda Carter, who played Diana Prince in the 1970s series, in a decisive manner – she was the only actress invited to test for it. Wonder Woman reunites Palicki with the pilot’s director Jeff Reiner who previously served as director/co-executive producer on Friday Night Lights for the series’ early run on NBC. Palicki, repped by UTA and Anonymous Content, next stars in the feature remake of Dawn.

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Jeffrey Reiner Closes In On ‘Wonder Woman’ Pilot Directing Gig

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Jeffrey Reiner is finalizing a deal to direct the NBC drama pilot Wonder Woman, David E. Kelley’s reimagening of the iconic D.C. comic. In the reboot, from Warner Bros. TV, Wonder Woman — aka Diana Prince — is a vigilante crime fighter in L.A. but also a successful corporate executive and a modern woman trying to balance all of the elements of her extraordinary life. The project was a late spec buy by NBC made by new chief Bob Greenblatt late last month. McG had been in talks to direct the pilot but couldn’t make a deal because of a scheduling conflict with a feature commitment. Reiner has a solid track record on NBC. He served as director/co-executive producer on Friday Night Lights for the series’ early run on NBC. He has directed 3 pilots so far, all going to series. Two of them were for NBC, Trauma in 2009 and The Event last year, and one for cable sibling Syfy, the Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica.

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McG To Direct NBC’s ‘Wonder Woman’ Pilot?

Nellie Andreeva

McG knows a thing or two about directing reboots of classic franchises featuring ass-kicking gals having helmed the two Charlie’s Angels movies. Now my colleague, TVLine’s Michael Ausiello, is reporting that McG has emerged as the odds-on favorite to direct David E. Kelley’s freshly greenlit Wonder Woman pilot for NBC and Warner Bros. TV. Sources stress that there are no talks going on as McG has not met on the project yet, but word is that he is considered a fronturnner for the job. While a very active TV producer with 4 series on the air, Chuck, Supernatural, Nikita and Human Target, McG rarely directs in TV as he’s been keeping busy in features. His only previous TV directing gigs are helming the pilots for Chuck and Fastlane, both projects developed and produced by McG’s WBTV-based company.

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