2nd UPDATE: I’ve just been told that The Inn (20th Century Fox TV / Reveille / Principato-Young Entertainment) was given the go-ahead by Fox to meet writers. I’m not sure if they can hire yet, “but it’s looking good,” a source explains. Directed by Jason Bateman, the pilot “is indeed good at FBC, and it screened best.” Bruce Helford is gone from the Bernie Mac starrer Starting Under (WBTV / Mohawk), so the Fox comedy now needs a new showrunner. “The pilot stinks, but they want Bernie on air,” a source explains. And the sitcom My Best Friend’s Girl (Sony Pictures TV) is “heavy in the mix of CBS half-hours.” Also, NBC isn’t making any changes in its already announced schedule at Monday’s upfront.
UPDATE: I am told that Life On Mars (20th Century Fox TV) is getting completely recast and reshot except for Jason O’Mara. But ABC has ordered the drama pilot nonetheless. Amazing, and it’s not even clear if David E Kelley will stay with it. I am also told that two ABC comedy pilots, The More Things Change (Regency) and the Untitled Cedric The Entertainer (ABC TV Studios), are dead at the network.
To date my April 24th “Hot List” of primetime pilots is holding up. But one alarming trend I’m seeing is that Big Media is demonstrating even more reluctance than usual to develop pilots their studios and networks don’t own. This is yet one more reason so many primetime scripted series fail. Here are my updates:
The fact is that most of ABC’s new stuff will need to go midseason because not only have few pilots yet been shot, but most are still only in the casting stage. Survivors are Stu Bloomberg’s Bad Mother’s Handbook (ABC TV Studios) in which Megan Mullally has now been cast opposite Alicia Silverstone, and the animated The Goode Family (Media Rights Capital) which has already gone into production on its 13-on-air commitment for 2009. Still awaiting more movement are previously touted This Might Hurt (20th Century Fox TV), Roman’s Empire (CBS Paramount/Katalyst) and Nuclear Family (ABC TV Studios).
Captain Cook’s Extraordinary Atlas (WBTV) has been given a huge budget. “It’s this year’s Pushing Daisies. It’s very high concept and the network is very very high on it.” Castle (ABC TV Studios/Beacon TV) and The Unusuals are still hanging in there. Prince Of Motor City (ABC TV Studios) has pulled ahead in terms of “really good buzz”. What’s new is that Life On Mars (20th Century Fox TV) has been shot and is said to be “definitely on the schedule” even though there’s still no final decision whether David E Kelley will be leaving or not. Also Good Behavior (ABC TV Studios/South Pacific Pictures) has locked in comedienne Catherine O’Hara to star.
Nothing new with Single White Millionaire (WBTV) and Mike Birbiglia’s Secret Public Journal (CBS Paramount/CBS), and both are still very viable.
Mythological Ex (CBS/20th Century Fox TV) is said to be a favorite of CBS execs who “really want it to work”. WBTV/Jerry Bruckheimer’s 11th Hour already has a 13-episode commitment. And The Mentalist (WBTV) is “looking good”. No news about NY-LON (ABC TV Studios/Beacon TV). But thing are heading south for Can Openers (Sony Pictures TV). A newcomer to the list is Exit 19 (CBS Paramount/ABC TV Studios) since locked-in Geena Davis just happens to be Nina Tassler’s longtime best friend.
Both 90210 (CW/CBS Paramount) and How To Teach Filthy Rich Girls (WBTV/Alloy) have everyone saying they’re locks.
WBTV/Wonderland’s Spaced adapted from that British series is said to now have a “phenomenal cast”. Cleveland (20th Century Fox TV) already has an order and Boldly Going Nowhere (20th Century Fox TV) already has a commitment. The Inn (20th Century Fox TV/ Reveille/Principato-Young Entertainment) is still getting great feedback.
WBTV/Bad Robot’s Fringe from J.J. Abrams “tested really well”. Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse (20th Century Fox TV) looks like a lock. Paul Attanasio wroote a great pilot for Courtroom K (20th Century Fox/Heel & Toe Films), and the studio is now negotiating with Alfred Molina to star.
Nothing more to say about NBC’s two new comedies Kath & Kim or The Office spin-off since both are already on the schedule.
Kings (Universal Media Studios) has already started production since it has a commitment along with My Own Worst Enemy (Universal Media Studios). The other drama, The Philanthropist (Universal Media Studios), is moving ahead and trying to find a new showrunner after writer-exec producer Tom Fontana left over creative differences.