Tag Archives: Pilots

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).

HBO

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.

Fox

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.

NBC

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.

ABC

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.

ABC

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.

CBS

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. 

NBC

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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Pilot Watch: Witches, AbFab, Trauma, Mercy, Tick Tock


Here’s a quick round up of the latest pilots to get the go-ahead in the States.

NBC

Trauma: No doubt with one eye on finding a replacement for ER, the network is considering this drama set in the  the high-energy world of medical emergencies out in the field.

Mercy: Written by Liz Heldens, the show is a medical drama that follows the highs and lows of the lives of three close friends who are nurses.
Heldens writing credits include three seasons on NBC’s Friday Night Lights.

ABC

The Witches Of Eastwick:  Light fantasy based on the John Updike novel, and the 1987 movie, about three women who develop supernatural powers after a mysterious man arrives in their their small town.
It’s the second attempt at a small-screen version of the story – a pilot was shot for Fox in 2002, starring future Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross, but never became a series.


Fox

Absolutely Fabulous: An American version of the rude ‘n’ crude 90s British sitcom about the boozy excesses of shallow, selfish fashion publicist Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and equally narcissistic magazine editor Patsy (Joanna Lumley), much to the disgust of Edina’s disapproving, straight-laced daughter, Saffron (Julia Sawalha).
Saunders created, wrote and starred in the original and is an is an executive producer on the US version. Former Saturday Night Live and Third Rock From the Sun writer Christine Zander will provide the script, which will set the show in Los Angeles.
AbFab ran for 36 episodes in the UK and is a cult hit in the States. Given the tendency of American remakes of foreign shows (Kath & Kim, for example) to make brash characters more likable and sympathetic and to lose the more grotesque aspects (the original Edina and Patsy were exceptionally grotesque and unsympathetic), it’s questionable how faithful the US version will be to the original.

CBS

Tick Tock: Comedy about a thirtysomething single mother who decides to focus her attention on finding true love.

See Also: High-Flying Fox Orders Seven New Pilots and Networks Fly Into A Pilot Frenzy.

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High-Flying Fox Orders Seven New Pilots


Fox network chiefs have given the green light to seven new pilots – four comedies and three dramas.

The orders are on top of the previously ordered drama Eva Adams and comedy Boldly Going Nowhere.

First up among the new comedies is The Station, which is about a covert CIA office in South America, where agents are trying to install a new dictator. The show is executive-produced by Ben Stiller, who may also direct the pilot.

Next we have Walorsky, about an ex-cop who now patrols a shopping mall in Buffalo, New York, and finds himself paired with a new rookie partner.

Sons of Tucson revolves around a hustler who is hired by three young brothers to act as their father.

The last of the four comedies is  Two Dollar Beer, a which is about how a blue-collar Detroit couple and their family and friends adapt to a world that is changing around them.

The first of the drama pilots is Human Target, a new take on a DC/Vertigo Comics title.

Terminator: Salvation director McG is an executive producer of the show, which is about Christopher Chance, a master of disguise who takes on a different identities, standing in for people whose lives are in jeopardy, putting himself in the firing line.

Next, we have an as-yet untitled reincarnation project about investigators who try to resolve their clients’ current problems by exploring their previous lives.

And finally, Maggie Hill is a medical drama about a female brain surgeon who suffers from schizophrenia. Among the executive producers is 24’s Brian Grazer.

Of the two existing Fox pilot orders, Eva Adams is a US remake of an Argentinian telenovela called Lalola, about a womaniser who is trensformed into a woman to experience life as a member of the opposite sex. In charge of the project is Kevin Falls, a former West Wing writer and executive producer, whose more recent TV projects, Journeyman, Shark and Lyon’s Den, have all failed to get beyond their first seasons.

And Boldly Going Nowhere is a comedy from the creators and stars of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia about the day-to-day life of a Spaceship captain. A pilot was shot last October but the show is being reworked.

EDIT: More pilot news HERE and HERE.

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Flash Forward – Brannon Braga’s Vision For Future Of New Show


Sci-Fi Wire reports that former Star Trek executive producer Brannon Braga has been revealing more details about his upcoming sci-fi pilot for ABC, Flash Forward, which the network hope could be their new Lost.

The story begins with a strange event during which everyone on Earth falls asleep and has a 2 minute 17 second glimpse of their own futures, five months down the line. The show follows the effect the premonition has on various people.

At the premiere party for season 7 of 24 this week (on which he is a co-executive producer), Braga revealed that Flash Forward will reset itself each season, starting each new run with a new set of visions and ending when they come true.

He said: “Yeah, the structure’s not dissimilar from 24 and we want to reset the show at the end of each year, where we’ll do another flash forward at the end of the first season, and then potentially another flash forward at the end of the second season, each one kind of resetting the core characters’ visions of the future and introducing new characters.

“One of the cool things about the show is you have 5 billion potential storylines. And we plan to tell the stories of people all over the world. Obviously they’ll be focused on mainly people here in L.A., but we’re going to go all over the place.”

Braga added that the central theme of the show is free will vs. fate: “Thematically that’s what the show is about, for sure. Yeah, and seeing how these people’s visions come true or not come true or come true because they tried to not make it come true. Some people want it to come true. Some people don’t want it to come true. It’s a fascinating concept. We’re very excited about it.”

The pilot starts shooting next month, with a cast including Joseph Fiennes, Sonya Walger, John Cho, Christine Woods, Jack Davenport and Courtney B. Vance.

 The show was developed by Braga, producer/writer/director David Goyerand Goyer’s wife and producing partner, Jessika Borsiczky Goyer. David Goyer will direct the pilot.

Goyer and Braga’s last TV project together was the much-missed 2005 alien invasion sci-fi drama Threshold, which failed to make it to the end of its first season.

Asked how the shows compare, Braga said: “Just based on what David and I have been talking about, this’ll be more grounded. Threshold, I think, had a slightly more heightened reality to it. Our aim with this show is to make it more—to say believablewould belittle shows like Threshold or Star Trek—but just more relatable and more realistic. There’s one big science fiction conceit: these flash-forwards. That’s all there is, and so we want the show to have a naturalistic vibe to it.”

The show also has a long-term vision, Braga added: “It’s so early in the game, [but] we have a lot planned. We have a lot we want to do. Before we sold the show, we sat down, and we were like, ‘This is a big idea. We want to have as much as we can planned for the duration of the show in case it does go. We don’t want to be winging it.'”

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Frasier Is Back In the Building


According to Variety, Kelsey Grammer is having another go at making at a TV comeback.

In an as-yet untitled pilot for ABC, the former Frasier star will play a corporate tycoon who reconnects with his family after being downsized out of his powerful job.

The project follows the cancellation of Grammer’s newsroom sitcom Back To You last year after its first season on Fox. It also comes just a few months after ABC rejected another comedy the actor had in development at the network, an adaptation of the British sitcom Roman’s Empire.

The new pilot is scripted by Tucker Cawley, who is best known for writing episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond.

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