Between the VIP section of newly picked up series and the pilot of rejected pilots is the no man’s land of pilots that are neither dead nor picked up yet. Here is a rundown on what is still alive and which dead pilots are looking for life elsewhere:
EXIT STRATEGY: Fox passing on the Ethan Hawke-starring action drama pilot was one of the biggest surprises on Tuesday when Fox made its series pickups. But the project, from 20th TV and Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman’s K/O Paper Products, is very much alive at the network for a possible midseason order. Veteran director-producer Ken Olin has come on board to help with the retooling of the project. He worked with Orci and Kurtzman on Alias where he also met K/O president Heather Kadin, then an ABC exec. Olin is expected to serve as co-showrunner if Exit Strategy is picked up to series. The pilot has been praised for the look established by director Antoine Fuqua but I hear that Fox brass felt the action needed to be infused with more character. Olin is already pitching ideas to do that, working alongside creator David Guggenheim who comes from the feature world and has no TV experience. Besides Hawke, a rare bona fide movie star to agree to do a broadcast series, Exit Strategy has something else going for it – the huge popularity surrounding Seal Team Six, the elite group that killed Osama bin Laden. On the show, Hawke leads a similar team dispatched around the world on clandestine rescue operations. “Everyone will be pitching Seal Team 6 series for next season, and we already have one ready to go,” one insider said.
FAMILY ALBUM: The single-camera family comedy directed by Shawn Levy and starring Mike O’Malley was also initially poised for retooling, and Fox asked producing studio 20th TV to film a second episode. But I now hear that the pilot may be on track for a midseason order.
LITTLE IN COMMON: The other Fox family comedy pilot left in contention. I hear the project, which stars Rob Corddry and Kevin Hart, will probably go on a slower track and will undergo some reworking for midseason consideration. Ditto on yet another family comedy, ABC’s SMOTHERED starring Marcia Gay Harden, Adam Arkin and Julie White.
LOCKE & KEY: the high-profile horror pilot, which Fox passed on, is being shopped to cable networks – both premium and basic – by 20th TV’s cable division Fox 21. The instant interest stems from the fact that Locke & Key is a pre-sold title as it is based on Joe Hill’s graphic novel.
Also shopped to cable is Stephen Gaghan’s sprawling drama pilot METRO, which didn’t make the cut at NBC. There is also talk about taking another NBC pilot, Michael Patrick King’s A MANN’s WORLD, to cable.