Daily Archives: February 1, 2009

But Wait, There’s More… Pilots

Oops. Here are a few pilots that fell through the gaps of previous posts (see HERE for a full roundup of recent pilot orders plus links to earlier pilot watch articles).


Boardwalk Empire: Directed by Martin Scorsese no less, and written by Sopranos writer Terence Winter, the show tells the story of Prohibition-era Atlantic City, New Jersey, and its rise as a gambling mecca, as seen through the eyes of bootlegger Nucky Johnson (played by Steve Buscemi).

Untitled Ellen Barkin project: This one only has an order for a half-hour pilot script so far but it would star Ellen Barkin, in her first TV role, as a 50-something woman famous for her high-profile marriage who divorces and re-enters the singles market, then finds herself developing a close, platonic bond with the 24-year-old son of her ex-husband.


MasterWork: Prison Break creator Paul Scheuring is involved in this drama about a team trying to recover precious artifacts from around the world. If it goes to a full series, the show is expected to film in several international locations.


Off Duty: West Wing star Bradley Whitford headlines this comedy about a once-legendary, washed-up detective who is paired with the PD’s rising star (Weeds’ Romany Malco). Cashmere Mafia star Bonnie Somerville takes the female lead, as Malco’s wife.

Lost in the ’80s: A Wonder Years-style dramedy, set in the 1980s, about a car dealer and his four sons.


An American Family: A documentary-style comedy about three different families.

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Networks Fly Into A Pilot Frenzy

There’s been a lot of pilot-ordering activity at the networks over the last few days (while The Choob was in his sickbed with the flu – how inconsiderate of them), on top of the shows I have already told you about HERE and HERE.

Here is a quick rundown, then, of what’s been greenlit by who.


V: A remake/reimagining of the cheesy but iconic and fondly-remembered 1983 mini-series about mice-eating alien lizards who invade Earth. The original version memorably began with giant spaceships appearing in the skies above Earth’s major cities – a visual image later homaged/ripped off by the makers of blockbuster movie Independence Day.

The TV remake will dispense with the Nazi allegory of the 1980s show and also with original creator Kenneth Johnson, who has been trying to get his own sequel/remake off the ground for years. The new version will be written by The 4400 co-creator Scott Peters and focus on a female Homeland Security agent. Like in the original, the alien “Visitors” will initially appear friendly and benevolent, only for their horrifying true motives to gradually emerge.

The 1983 original spawned a sequel mini-series and a weekly TV show that ran for only one season.

Limelight: Drama in part inspired by hip hop producer Pharrell Williams‘ experience at a performing arts school. Executive produced by Charlies Angels director McG, it will follow the students and teachers at a similar kind of school in New York. Sounds a bit like Fame for the post-millennium. It’s worth noting that the series was originally given a full series commitment just days before the start of the 2007 writers’ strike started. It was later put into redevelopment.

Untitled Jerry Bruckheimer Crime drama: Known internally as The Unknown, the show is about amateur crime fighters. Executive produced by action-movie and CSI franchise producer Bruckheimer, the pilot will by directed by CSI producer/director Danny Cannon.

Empire State: Drama about two families at odds with each other. One clan is made up of blue-collar ironworkers, the other, wealthy real-estate tycoons. At the show’s heart is a Romeo and Juliet-style love story.

I, Claudia: Drama about young prosecuting attorney Claudia McIntire who, viewers learn, will one day be a contender for US President. In the present-day, though, she is more concerned about her love life than her career.

Inside the Box: Drama, written by news producer Richard E Robbins, about a female news producer and her colleagues at a Washington DC network news bureau. Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes is executive producer.

Let It Go: Former Gilmore Girls star Lauren Graham stars as a talkshow host who finds it hard to follow her own advice to “let things go” when her own boyfriend dumps her.

The New Twenty: Comedy from Scrubs’ Tad Quill about two pals in their 40s who are at different stages in life – one with a newborn, the other with a kid going to college.

Threesome: To-be-retitled comedy about a guy in his 30s caught between his single-mother girlfriend and his slacker best pal.

Untitled “Brothers And Detectives” Remake: Drama about a Savannah cop who discovers when his dad dies he has an 11-year-old brother with a genius IQ. They team up to solve crimes. Written by Dexter writer Daniel Cerone and based on an Argentinian show called Brothers and Detectives.


Back: A missing-person drama about a man who disappeared in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, who suddenly shows up eight years later. The story follows his attempts to reconnect with his family adjust to a world that has dramatically changed. It’s written by Bones and CSI: Miami alumni Dean Widenmann.

Washington Field: Crime drama about a team of elite agents operating out of the FBI’s Washington field office

Untitled: A drama from The Unit‘s Frank Military, about a team of federal prosecutors working in Manhattan’s US Attorney’s office. 


Parenthood: Twenty years after the Steve Martin movie was released, it’s being adapted for TV as an hour-long comedy-drama that will retain the tone of the film, but update it to reflect the challenges facing parents in the new millennium and it will also feature new characters. The talent behind the show includes Friday Night Lights writer/executive producer Jason Katims and Executive Producers Ron Howard (who directed the original movie) and Brian Grazer. An earlier attempt to turn parenthood into a TV show, starring St Elsewhere’s Ed Begley Jr, lasted just 12 episodes in 1990. It did, however, feature a young Leonardo DiCaprio, David Arquette and Thora Birch, and gave a pre-Buffy Joss Whedon one of his first writing gigs.

Day One: Post-apocalyptic drama from Heroes, Alias and Lost writer Jesse Alexander, set in the wake of global catastrophe that destroys the world’s infrastructure. The show focuses on a small group of survivors. Substitute American for global and it all sounds suspiciously similar to much-missed Jericho to me…

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A Little Overtime At The Office And Some Extra Heroes

In an interesting development from NBC, TV seasons are getting longer. Well, for a select few shows.

In an age were it’s rare for US shows to have more than 22 episodes per season, the network has announced that the currently-airing fifth season of The Office will run to 29 episodes this season – or possibly 30 depending on how you read the press release, which states the order as 29 half-hours, with a one-hour season finale on May 14.

Whether the finale counts as two of the 29 half hours or adds one half-hour, is unclear. In any case, more of The Office can only be a good thing, although the Choob does note that this season has been a bit sluggish and slightly underwhelming compared to previous seasons. Hopefully it will pick up when it returns with a one-hour special after The Superbowl tonight.

Meanwhile, Heroes, despite the ratings slump, will air 26 episodes in all this season and network chiefs have publicly stated that the show is safe for at least next season also.

And My Name Is Earl fans can look forward to 26 episodes this season.



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