3rd UPDATE 6:10 PM: NBC is wrapping its first day of new series pickups with a order to another frontrunner, drama pilot Odyssey, which already has backup scripts written and is ready to go. That brings the number of new NBC series picked up for next season to six, Russian spy thrilled Allegiance, CIA drama State of Affairs starring Katherine Heigl, Odyssey and the David Caspe comedy Marry Me, ordered today, and previously picked up comedies Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (form. Tookan) and Mr. Robinson.
The Traffic-like action drama Odyssey was written by Adam Armus, Nora Kay Foster and Peter Horton and directed by Horton. An international conspiracyexplodes when three strangers’ lives unexpectedly collide — a female soldier, a corporate lawyer and a political activist. After a team of American soldiers battling Jihadists in North Africa kill Al Qaeda’s top man. Sgt. Odelle Ballard (Anna Friel) — a soldier, mother, wife and the unit’s only female member — discovers computer files that suggest a major U.S. corporation is funding the Jihadists. Before she can tell anyone, her team is attacked by U.S. Special Forces and left for dead, with Odelle as the sole survivor. In New York, former U.S. Attorney Peter Drucker (Peter Facinelli) is working on a merger deal for the same company that was funneling money to the Jihadists. Meanwhile, Harrison Wolcott (Jake Robinson), a political activist and trust fund kid, meets a hacker who claims to have unearthed a massive military-industrial conspiracy. The cast also includes Jim True-Frost, Treat Williams, Nate Mooney, Elena Kampouris, Daniella Pineda, Sadie Sink, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and Omar Ghazaoui. Armus, Foster and Horton executive produce with Simon Maxwell, Mikkel Bondesen, Henrik Bastin and Kristen Campo for Universal TV, Fabrik Entertainment and Red Arrow Entertainment Group.
2nd UPDATE 5:20 PM: Another hot NBC pilot getting a series pickup, the Katherine Heigl-starring drama State Of Affairs. The project, which marks Grey’s Antomy alumna Heigl’s return to TV, is in need of a showrunner as Alexi Hawley, who wrote the original script, has left, and Joe Carnahan, who is getting high marks for rewriting and directing the pilot, is busy with The Blacklist. I hear Tom Szentgyorgyi is eyed for the job if The Mentalist is not renewed, which appears likely. Each day the president is faced with hundreds of life-and-death decisions, and to prioritize the biggest international crises facing the country, one top CIA analyst – Charleston Tucker (Heigl) – assembles the president’s Daily Briefing. Aside from the political minefields she has to walk, Charlie has a close personal relationship with the president (Alfre Woodard) because she once was engaged to her son before a terrorist attack took his life. Charlie survived that attack and now is determined to bring the perpetrators to justice. The cast also includes Adam Kaufman, Sheila Vand, Cliff Chamberlain, Tommy Savas and Leslie Odom Jr. Writer-director Carnahan serves as executive producer with Katherine Heigl, Nancy Heigl, Robert Simonds, Sophie Watts, Henry Crumpton, Rodney Faraon and Julia Franz. Universal TV produces with Bob Simonds Co. and Abishag Prods.
Related: 2014 NBC Pilots
UPDATE: After picking up its hottest comedy pilot, Marry Me, NBC also ordered to series its drama pilot frontrunner, Allegiance (form. Coercion). It was adapted from Israeli series The Gordin Cell by writer George Nolfi, who also directed the pilot. I hear John Zinman and Patrick Massett are in talks to join as showrunners. Allegiance centers on Alex O’Connor, a young idealistic CIA analyst specializing in Russian affairs, who learns a shocking secret that his parents, Mark (Scott Cohen) and Katya (Hope Davis) are covert Russian spies deactivated decades ago. Today the Kremlin has re-enlisted them into service as they plan a terrorist operation inside the U.S. that will bring America to its knees. The cast also includes Margarita Levieva, Gavin Stenhouse, Morgan Spector, Annie Ilonzeh, Alexandra Peters and Kenneth Choi. Nolfi serves as executive producer with Avi Nir, Ron Leshem, Amit Cohen, Yona Wisenthal and Giyora Yahalom for Universal Television, Keshet Media Group, which is behind the original series; along with Israeli satcaster YES, which airs it.
PREVIOUS: After three drama pickups for Fox, NBC opened its series ordering campaign with a nod to its hottest comedy pilot, Marry Me. It marks the return to primetime of Happy Endings creator David Caspe, who wrote the pilot, directed by Seth Gordon and produced by Sony TV and Jamie Tarses‘ studio-based FanFare Prods. Marry Me joins previously picked up to series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (previously Tookan, Tina Fey/Robert Carlock) and Mr. Robinson. The semi-autobiographical Marry Me, in the vein of Mad About You, stars Caspe’s real-life fiancee and Happy Endings alumna Casey Wilson. Six years ago, Annie (Wilson) and Jake (Ken Marino) bonded over their mutual love of nachos and they’ve been inseparable ever since. Now, after returning from a romantic two-week island vacation, Jake’s all set to pop the question. Before he can ask, though, Annie lets loose on Jake for his inability to commit. Not wanting to spend the next 60 years talking about that mess of a proposal, Jake and Annie decide to hold off on the engagement until they can do it right. The cast also includes Sarah Wright, John Gemberling, Tymberlee Hill and Tim Meadows. Caspe and Gordon executive produce with Tarses. There will likely be more NBC orders coming today.