2ND UPDATE FRIDAY: Another NBC comedy frontrunner, 1600 PENN, has been given permission to begin making staffing offers, moving it closer to a series pickup.
UPDATE THURSDAY PM: I hear Greg Daniels’ comedy pilot FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER also has been given permission to start making staffing offers. But I’ve learned that those offers are backed by Daniels’ veteran NBC series The Office, meaning that the writer-producers signed for FND would segue to The Office if the pilot doesn’t go.
PREVIOUS 11 AM THURSDAY: About halfway through the broadcast networks’ screenings this week, it doesn’t look like there have been major surprises, with most early frontrunners solidifying their positions. NBC, which is looking to launch a number of series in August, right after the end of its coverage of the Summer Olympics, has been moving the fastest, picking up the first pilot to series, the Matthew Perry-starring single-camera comedy Go On, and giving several others permission to make staffing offers. In addition to single-camera comedies THE NEW NORMAL and SAVE ME, I hear also allowed to begin a hiring process are the Jimmy Fallon-produced multi-camera comedy GUYS WITH KIDS and J.J. Abrams/Eric Kripke’s action drama REVOLUTION, which had been very quiet after a late start. We might see more series pickups today as there is a rumor this morning that the network may order as many as three new series before the day is over. (UPDATE: That rumor turned out to be bogus, no NBC series pickups today.) Also going strong on the comedy side at NBC is White House single-camera family comedy 1600 PENN as well as Greg Daniels’ FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER despite middling testing. Single-camera ANIMAL KINGDOM is still in contention along with several multi-camera comedies, though it seems like NBC brass have somewhat cooled off on the format: the UNTITLED KARI LIZER, DADDY’s GIRLS, which has been gaining momentum, and, to some extent, DOWNWARDLY MOBILE. Meanwhile, SARAH SILVERMAN is a very long shot. Drama-wise, medical drama COUNTY appears to be a strong contender, along with another medical drama, the Jekyll and Hyde-esque DO NO HARM, though it is not clear if NBC would pick up two medical shows. The Dick Wolf-produced CHICAGO FIRE is strong, and its pickup may factor into Wolf’s ongoing renewal negotiations with NBC for Law & Order: SVU. The Western-flavored FRONTIER still has supporters despite mixed testing results, while last-minute pickup NOTORIOUS is quickly becoming a contender.
The UNTITLED MINDY KALING comedy pilot continues its march towards Fox‘s schedule as a potential companion to New Girl. Late bloomer NED FOX IS MY MANNY also appears likely to snag a series order, along with the Steve Levitan-produced REBOUNDING. Several other Fox comedy pilots are fighting for a spot: the network’s other two adult sibling comedies besides Ned Fox, LITTLE BROTHER and GOODWIN GAMES, as well as EL JEFE and PRODIGY/BULLY. On the drama side, the Kevin Bacon-starring UNTITLED KEVIN WILLIAMSON project continues to look as a sure thing, despite some concerns over its violence, ahead of its network screening. The UNTITLED BERMAN/WRIGHT mob doctor drama followed its great testing with a strong screening to solidify its chances, with the UNTITLED KARYN USHER teen spy drama and the Cuba Gooding Jr.-starring legal drama GUILTY also very much in contention, while THE ASSET is fading.
Marc Cherry’s DEVIOUS MAIDS was recently given permission to make senior writing staff offers ahead of its official screening, which bodes well for the dramedy. (UPDATE: The pilot’s screening was just so-so.) AMERICANA also is strong following its screening, as most ABC drama pilots are still in contention. Sudser-wise, that includes NASHVILLE ahead of its screening (UPDATE: it screened very well) and to some extent PENOZA. On the testosterone side, slow starter, the UNTITLED ROLAND EMMERICH action drama continues to improve its chances, with the Shawn Ryan-produced LAST RESORT solid. The fantasy/genre race among GOTHAM, 666 PARK AVE and BEAUTY & THE BEAST to join freshman breakout Once Upon A Time is still too close to call. Buzz on Gotham has been solid, reaction to 666 has been more mixed but it features a cast of signature ABC stars like Terry O’Quinn and Vanessa Williams. Meanwhile, there have been some issues on BEAUTY & THE BEAST but its deep Disney roots and the fact that, like Once and unlike Gotham and 666, it is owned by ABC is making it a strong contender for a pickup. Period soap GILDED LILYS has cooled off after a lackluster screening, with SCRUPLES still soft. On the comedy side, there are no major standouts. The Reba McEntire starrer MALIBU COUNTRY is solid, with UNTITLED MANDY MOORE and UNTITLED DAN FOGELMAN gaining momentum, and AMERICAN JUDY, HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS, ONLY FOOLS & HORSES, RED VAN MAN and PRAIRIE DOGS all in contention. It is still early on the UNTITLED KARI LIZER, which had a solid taping, while feedback on AWESOMETOWN has been mixed.
CBS‘ Sherlock Holmes reboot ELEMENTARY continues to look like a lock for fall, along with the star-studded RALPH LAMB, which has not been seen by many yet. The Jerry Bruckheimer-produced TROOPER has been rising, especially with speculation that CBS may cancel one of the CSI spinoffs (the odds are on the more expensive Miami at the moment), so a Trooper pickup would keep the number of Bruckheimer series on the network intact. The uber-producer will have an opportunity to pitch both the pilot and the bubble CSI shows as I hear he will be hosting CBS chief Leslie Moonves at the Kentucky Derby this weekend. Several other drama pilots are in contention. APPLEBAUM has been received well, with WIDOW DETECTIVE, which tested well, and GOLDEN BOY in the mix. On the comedy side, Max Mutchnick and David Kohan’s PARTNERS is strong, as is the NICK STOLLER comedy, with the BERLANTI/MALINS quietly gaining momentum. The MARTIN LAWRENCE comedy was a very late order and has not been seen yet but early buzz has been positive.
No major changes in the standings at the CW with six of the network’s eight pilots still in serious consideration as the CW could pick up as many as 5-6 new series and be creative with scheduling, spreading them out throughout the season in cable fashion. The list of frontrunners continues to be topped by ARROW and THE CARRIE DIARIES, with BEAUTY & THE BEAST, FIRST CUT and CULT strong and the Hunger Games-esque THE SELECTION also in contention.