UPDATE: I hear speculation that NBC’s FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER is unlikely to go forward, which would open up a slot for another comedy pilot. The chances of the network’s freshman Whitney to return also appear slim.
PREVIOUS: Brace yourself: a wave of new series pickups and existing show renewals are coming our way this week. NBC, which is first off presenting its fall lineup next Monday morning, is expected to lead the way, followed closely by Fox, which is holding its upfront Monday afternoon.
NBC is expected to order about 6-8 new comedy series and 4-5 dramas. The network, which has been very secretive about its testings and screenings this year, gave an indication of some of its favorites when it allowed several pilots to start making staffing offers last week. The list includes five comedy pilots: the single-camera 1600 PENN, THE NEW NORMAL, SAVE ME and FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER (the latter is backed by by Greg 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) and the multi-camera GUYS WITH KIDS. With the Matthew Perry starrer GO ON already picked up, NBC has pretty much filled up its comedy quota. But in case one of two of those five don’t go or NBC opts to pick up more than 6 new comedy series, multi-camera comedy pilot DADDY’S GIRLS has been gaining momentum and has a real shot, with the single-camera ANIMAL KINGDOM also percolating. On the drama side, CHICAGO FIRE, medical dramas COUNTY and DO NO HARM, action drama REVOLUTION (which has been given permission to start making staffing offers), and mystery soap NOTORIOUS are picking up steam. A pickup of the Dick Wolf-produced Chicago Fire is expected to seal the renewal of Wolf’s veteran procedural Law & Order: SVU. Early forntrunner MIDNIGHT SUN, a thriller based on an Israeli format, prison drama BAD GIRLS and Western FRONTIER have gone quiet, but it is still possible for NBC to take a swing with an unusual concept.
Fox is considering picking up about 3-4 new comedies and 2-3 dramas. The UNTITLED MINDY KALING comedy pilot is all but assured a spot, with NED FOX IS MY MANNY peaking at the right moment and the Steve Levitan-produced REBOUNDING relying on great testing and big auspices. That squeezes the rest of the comedy pilots out, though LITTLE BROTHER, GOODWIN GAMES, EL JEFE and PRODIGY/BULLY are still holding out hope as each has something going for it, mostly on the casting side. Drama-wise, the Kevin Bacon-starring UNTITLED KEVIN WILLIAMSON is a go, with the UNTITLED BERMAN/WRIGHT mob doctor drama also looking more and more like a lock, especially in light of House‘s departure. That leaves the Cuba Gooding Jr-starring legal drama GUILTY and the UNTITLED KARYN USHER teen spy drama fighting it out for the third spot if there is one, with Guilty having the upper hand. Fox will likely renew Touch, but there is speculation that the network could also bring back The Finder, which would eliminate one of the slots earmarked for new dramas.
ABC is looking to pick up six dramas, including MISTRESSES, which has a straight-to-series order. That number will be impacted by how many of the bubble dramas – Scandal, Body Of Proof and GCB – the network renews. NASHVILLE is the one pilot so far guaranteed a spot on the schedule for next season. AMERICANA also looks strong. Marc Cherry’s DEVIOUS MAIDS has been given permission to make staffing offers but didn’t hit it out of the park in its screening. Of the magic pilots ordered as potential companions to ONCE UPON A TIME, GOTHAM had a solid screening while 666 PARK AVE and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST are yet to be seen, with the latter undergoing massive re-editing. PENOZA is a possibility, UNTITLED ROLAND EMMERICH and GILDED LILYS also are a maybe. ABC’s comedy field has no standouts like Suburgatory and Don’t Trust The B last year. MALIBU COUNTRY is solid, with UNTITLED MANDY MOORE and UNTITLED DAN FOGELMAN gaining momentum, AMERICAN JUDY, HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR PARENTS, ONLY FOOLS & HORSES, RED VAN MAN and PRAIRIE DOGS all still in contention and UNTITLED KARI LIZER soon to be seen. (UPDATE: The Kari Lizer pilot received a lukewarm reception at its screening, while THE SMART ONE fared a little better.)
CBS is eying three new drama series for fall and one more for midseason. ELEMENTARY and RALPH LAMB still look like the ones to beat. Of the female-lead dramas, APPLEBAUM appears to have the upper hand at the moment, but TROOPER comes from producer Jerry Bruckheimer and the last time a pilot produced by him didn’t go to series was seven years ago. Plus, if CBS decides to kill one of the CSI spinoffs, it may fill the void in the Bruckheimer quota on the network with the Mira Sorvino-starring procedural. GOLDEN BOY was well received though there is concern about the lead Theo James being completely unknown. Things are reversed for WIDOW DETECTIVE, whose chances are elevated by the star power of its lead, John Corbett. On the comedy side, CBS could pick up about 3-4 new comedies depending whether it would pull the trigger on expanding to two two-hour comedy blocks. Things look murky, but PARTNERS and the single-camera NICK STOLLER continue to be strong, with UNTITLED MARTIN LAWRENCE, which was ordered late, gaining momentum, along with MALINS/BERLANTI and Rebel Wilson’s SUPER FUN NIGHT, though there have been some issues on the last one, which needs showrunners if picked up to pilot as Andrew Reich and Ted Cohen only agreed to work on the pilot.
The CW is looking at picking up as many as 5-6 new drama series, probably to spread them out throughout the season. 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.