It feels like the window for picking up broadcast pilots has shrunk over the past few years. The network used to start slowly after the holidays, focusing almost entirely on drama pilot orders in January before moving to comedy in February. And here we are at the end of January, with the networks almost done with their picks after juggling both drama and comedy orders from the get-go. I hear done for the season are CBS drama, NBC comedy and Fox drama (with the possible exception of an off-cycle order to action drama Hieroglyph.) Of course, there is always the chance for a last-minute hot spec like the Joe Port-Joe Wiseman-Steve Levitan comedy, which hit the marketplace yesterday.
The $2 million question remaining at NBC is the Eric Kripke/JJ Abrams drama Revolution, the last big piece on the NBC slate still in limbo. The thriller, which has a production commitment, went through a rewrite and is yet to get a green light, which is surprising given the fact that it carries a massive $2 million penalty rolled over from Abrams’ project at NBC last year.
Another project from A-list auspices with a big commitment attached to it is eying what could be the last comedy slot at Fox, Goodwin Games, from How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays & Craig Thomas and the show’s EP Chris Harris.
CBS would probably pick up a couple of more comedies, with finding a vehicle for Martin Lawrence, who is under a talent deal there, a priority. The network is yet to pick between the 2 scripts it commissioned for him, one from The Bernie Mac Show creator Larry Wilmore and one from Rules of Engagement creator Tom Hertz.
The most remaining action is at ABC, which could order about 4 more comedies and 2-4 more dramas. The network is expected to start picking up its talent-driven half-hours with major commitments, including the Kevin Abbott project starring Reba McEntire, the Diane English comedy starring Jim Belushi and the Bob Fisher/Shawn Levy comedy starring Mandy Moore, which is being rewritten, with Will Gluck’s 2 scripts also in contention, one penned by him and one, Walk Of Shame, by Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael, along with Peter Tolan’s firefighter comedy. The hopefuls on the drama side include the Melissa Rosenberg-penned Penoza, Michael Green’s Gotham, Noah Hawley’s Courtroom 302, a Jekyll & Hyde drama by Matt Lopez, Paul Scheuring’s Apostles, the Jon Favreau/Roberto Orci/Seth Green/Michael Dougherty sci-fi drama, KJ Steinberg’s soap Mistresses, Marc Cherry’s Devious Maids, which is getting a rewrite, and the Byron Balasco-written Suburban Shootout.
The CW, already at 5 drama pilots, may pick up 2-4 more. The J.J. Abrams-Mark Schwahn hotel drama has strong buzz, along with the project by Buffy alums Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain, with the Bert Royal-written time-travel musical Danny Hollywood a possibility and Kripke’s Deadman adaptation a dark horse. A major question is whether the network will pick up any half-hour pilots. The CW re-entered the arena this season, with new chief Mark Pedowitz opened to picking up 1-2 comedy pilots.