The official pilot pickup season kicked off in the past 2 weeks with orders at the CW, Fox NBC and ABC, with CBS as usual late to the party.
The CW, which ordered the first pilot of 2012, mystery drama Cult, will likely greenlight the most pilots in its history, between 6-8 dramas and possibly 1 or 2 comedies as the network is mounting an aggressive push in offering more originals year-round under new president Mark Pedowitz. The CW has been mulling a return to comedy and developed a handful of half-hour scripts but it is unclear if any of them will go to pilot. Among the buzzed about projects at the network are Arrow, based on the Green Arrow DC Comics, which nears a pilot order, the Sex & the City prequel The Carrie Diaries, the Beauty And The Beast reboot and a medical drama by Jennie Snyder Urman.
It is possible that the CW orders more drama pilots than Fox this season. Fox is looking to pick up 5 hourlong pilots with 2 of the slots already taken by the recent orders to the Marc Guggenheim/Greg Berlanti legal drama Guilty and a serial killer drama by Kevin Williamson. Among those in serious consideration are the Josh Friedman spy drama and Silvio Horta’s Latino family dramedy executive produced by Jennifer Lopez. On the comedy side, Fox is looking to order 8-10 pilots, with 3 picked up so far, off-cycle half-hour Little Brother, which has had some difficulties casting, Dana Fox’s Ben Fox Is My Daddy and Rob McElhenney’s Living Loaded. The network has a Bill Lawrence comedy with a production commitment.
NBC went into the traditional pilot pickup season with the biggest head start having already picked up 5 pilots in the fourth quarter of last year, dramas Beautiful People and a Munsters reboot, which are casting, and comedies Isabel, which has been cast, and the Sarah Silverman project and Save Me (cast-contingent), both currently casting. NBC added 4 more pilots to its tally on Friday, dramas Frontier, Midnight Sun (aka Pillars of Smoke) and Do No Harm and an untitled female buddy comedy from Kari Lizer. NBC’s target is about 10 drama pilots and 10-12 comedies, making competition for the remaining slots pretty fierce. In addition to Frontier, I hear NBC may pick up another of the 3 Western script it had ordered, possibly the one written by Kerry Ehrin. Also getting strong buzz at NBC are the Dick Wolf-produced firefighter drama, J.J. Abrams-Eric Kripke’s epic Revolution, which has a big commitment, and the Howard Gordon-produced Legends. On the comedy side, Greg Daniels’ Friday Night Dinner is expected to go, while Ryan Murphy/Alison Adler’s comedy about a gay couple and their surrogate and the Will Gluck produced The Yard, which have production commitments, have been exploring casting choices. Also tracking well is Jason Winer, Josh Gad and Jon Lovett’s first family comedy.
ABC is expected to stay close to last year’s number of pilots: 10-12 dramas and that many comedies. The network already ordered Roland Emmerich’s metaphysical drama, Shonda Rhimes/KJ Steinberg period drama Giilded Lillys and Shawn Ryan/Karl Gajdusek’s Last Resort as well as a sisters comedy from Stephnie Weir and Claudia Lonow and off-cycle half-hour pilots The Manzanis starring Kirstie Alley and a Dan Fogelman alien comedy. Other talked about comedies include Lonow’s other comedy at the network, a Kari Lizer project and a Bob Fisher/Shawn Levy comedy starring Mandy Moore. Additionally, a Shana Goldberg-Meehan comedy starring JoAnna Garcia has a production commitment. On the drama side, a Moira Kirland procedural, a high-concept Michael Green cop drama and Carlton Cuse’s spiritual drama are among those talked about.
CBS is eying 7-9 drama pilots and as many comedies. Its only order so far was to Jon Favreau’s single-camera spec Tweaked. The network’s reboot of Rifleman from Laeta Kalogridis, Chris Columbus and Carol Mendesohn is getting a lot of buzz, with a female-lead drama from Anna Fricke, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci also hot, along with the Nick Wootton/Berlanti cop drama Golden Boy, the Rob Doherty-penned contemporary Sherlock Holmes drama and the Mendelsohn-produced Mommy Track Mysteries. On the comedy side, Bill Lawrence and Greg Malins’ project has a production commitment, while David Kohan and Max Mutchnick’s semi-autobiographical sitcom has been tracking well.