Here’s some very early info to update you on 2008-2009 primetime pilots and presentations. I hear the following pilots have heat heading into the weeks before the network upfronts. In most cases, this good buzz is based on scripts considered above average and even exceptional, and/or the successful showrunners, producers, directors involved. Overall, ABC has the edge on comedy development (called “good stuff” by insiders). The quotes below are from sources in the know (and keep sending me your tips and infos):
Bad Mother’s Handbook (ABC TV Studios)
— “Good but not great script”. But was one of the network’s two favorites. Pluses are Alicia Silverstone as star, Richard Shepard as director (he helmed the Ugly Betty pilot), and fact that exec producer Stu Bloomberg able to keep guilt-tripping one-time best pal Bob Iger for firing him as ABC Entertainment head back in 2002.
The Goode Family (Media Rights Capital)
— Network already gave it 13 on-air commitment for 2009. It’s animated.
This Might Hurt (20th Century Fox TV)
Roman’s Empire (CBS Paramount/Katalyst)
— “Good script”.
Nuclear Family (ABC TV Studios)
— This was the first pilot ordered by the network. Can’t lose with star Alyssa Milano.
Captain Cook’s Extraordinary Atlas (WBTV)
— “Really good script, but they’re doing a rewrite on it”. Pluses are Tom Wheeler writing and exec producing, and Tommy Schlamme directing. If it works right, will be on the air Sunday at 8 pm. Huge ambitious Harry Potter-style series.
Castle (ABC TV Studios/Beacon TV)
— Pluses seen are Andrew Marlowe writing and producing, and Rob Bowman directing, and Desperate Housewives alum Nathan Fillion set for lead.
Prince Of Motor City (ABC TV Studios)
— Praise for premise of Hamlet set in Detroit.
The Unusuals (Sony Pictures TV)
Single White Millionaire (WBTV)
— The script is only “lukewarm”. But the heat comes from Jim Burrows on as director. Ricky Blitt writing and exec producing. Fred Savage set to star.
Mike Birbiglia’s Secret Public Journal (CBS Paramount/CBS)
— CBS “very happy with how reading went”. Now pilot has already been shot (as of Tuesday) and network thinks it’s extremely strong. It’s being renamed, thankfully.
Mythological Ex (CBS/20th Century Fox TV)
— “Yeah, good script.”
11th Hour (WBTV/Jerry Bruckheimer TV)
— “It’s a Bruckheimer show.”
The Mentalist (WBTV)
— Pluses are casting of Simon Baker and Robin Tunney, and writing and exec producing by Bruno Heller.
NY-LON (ABC TV Studios/Beacon TV)
— “Good script. Whether it’s going to work or not, who knows…”
Can Openers (Sony Pictures TV)
— “Good script”.
90210 (CW/CBS Paramount)
— “Slam dunk. Doesn’t even have to be good.”
How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls (WBTV/Alloy)
— “Good script.” “Another McG production.” Minus is it’s an adaptation of a British series whose creators are badmouthing the U.S. series. And was tough to find a director to do it because producers insisted on someone new and fresh with a feature sensibility.
The Inn (FBC/20th Century Fox TV/Reveille)
— “Unreadable. But network really likes this.” Jason Bateman directing. It taped last night to great feedback.
Cleveland (20th Century Fox TV)
— Family Guy spin-off already has 13-episode commitment.
Boldly Going Nowhere (20th Century Fox TV)
— “Five-script commitment behind it.”
Fringe (WBTV/Bad Robot)
— “It’s J.J. Abrams.”
Dollhouse (20th Century Fox TV)
— “It’s Joss Whedon…” (Yes, he got screwed before, but probably not this time around.)
Courtroom K (20th Century Fox TV/Heel & Toe Films)
— “Paul Attanasio’s script was excellent.”
Kath & Kim (Universal Media Studios)
— Already on the schedule for six episodes, and network just ordered six more scripts. U.S. adaptation of a hit Australian comedy. Well cast with Molly Shannon as a 40-something divorcee and Selma Blair as her immature self-absorbed daughter. Yet another Reveille series ordered by Silverman.
The Office Spin-Off (Universal Media Studios)
— Already on the schedule. Ben Silverman’s Reveille gift that keeps on giving.
Kings (Universal Media Studios)
— Already on the schedule.
My Own Worst Enemy (Universal Media Studios)
— Already on the schedule. “Excellent script.” Stars Christian Slater.
The Philanthropist (Universal Media Studios)
— Already on the schedule. “Very good script.” But writer/exec producer Tom Fontana just left over creative differences. (He wanted gritty and authentic. Net wanted escapist and fantastical.)