It’s been a strong pilot season for projects getting second chances. The latest example is single-camera comedy Strange Calls, which has received a pilot pickup at NBC. The project, executive produced by Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment, was originally set up at ABC during the 2012-13 season with a put pilot commitment and received a cast-contingent pilot order at the alphabet net last season but did not go to production after the lead could not be cast. NBC expressed interest, and the project migrated to the network with a new writer, Blake McCormick (Cougar Town).
Based on an Australian format, Strange Calls centers on an affable but down on his luck young police officer. He is transferred to a rural town where — with the help of a peculiar, elderly night watchman — he starts to realize the town has a bizarre supernatural underbelly.
McCormick executive produces with Kaplan and Tracey Robertson and Nathan Mayfield, executive producers of the original series, which was produced by their company Hoodlum. 20th Century Fox TV, which had been behind the adaptation since its previous incarnations, is producing with Kapital Entertainment and Hoodlum. It’s a big season for Cougar Town showrunner McCormick who also co-wrote and executive produces CBS’ Rush Hour.
The Australian Strange Calls, which aired on ABC2, was created-directed by Daley Pearson based on his 2011 short film. It was conceived as a multiplatform show that invites audiences to communicate with the characters and share “strange” sightings via Twitter and the show’s website. In the U.S., it aired on Hulu/Hulu Plus.
This marks Kaplan’s fifth broadcast pilot order so far this season with projects at all major networks: comedy Chev & Bev and drama Broad Squad at ABC, Justin Adler comedy Life In Pieces at CBS, a Dana Klein family comedy at Fox and Strange Calls at NBC.
Other projects to receive a pilot order this season after getting a pass before include the Greg Garcia CBS comedy Super Clyde, previously piloted at the network two seasons ago, and drama The Runner, ordered at ABC after being set up at Fox last season and getting a cast-contingent pickup there.