With cable networks and digital platforms stepping up original production, broadcast networks are no longer the only game in town. Broadcast has lost a lot of its clout, but by sheer volume — hundreds of pitches bought and 80+ pilots shot every year — broadcast pilot season remains the ultimate TV business lottery with long odds to go to pilot. Here is Deadline’s annual list of The Overachievers of Pilot Season, which lists the select few individuals and production companies that beat the odds, and then some.
Another very strong pilot season for independent producer Aaron Kaplan of Kapital Entertainment, who has six broadcast pilots across all four major networks: drama Broad Squad and comedies Chev & Bev starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo and untitled NBA project at ABC as well as comedies Life In Pieces at CBS, Strange Calls at NBC and untitled Dana Klein at Fox. Kaplan has a total of eight pilots in production at the moment, including two on the cable side: comedies Divorce at HBO starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Kevin From Work at ABC Family.
Greg Berlanti‘s Berlanti Prods. has two pilots: CBS’ Supergirl, which he also is co-writing, and NBC’s Blindspot, which landed two of the most sought-after leads this season in Jaimie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton. Additionally, Berlanti is spearheading a team-up superhero series for the CW, which is on fast-track development for a likely straight-to-series order.
Dan Fogelman, who has musical comedy Galavant on ABC, is executive produces three pilots, untitled NBA and The King of 7B for ABC and Grandpa starring John Stamos at Fox.
Management/production company 3 Arts Entertainment has 6 broadcast comedy pilots – Fantasy Life starring Kevin Connolly at Fox, Take It from Us at NBC, Fortune Feimster’s Family Fortune, Jermaine Fowler’s Dolores & Jermaine and the untitled Johnny Knoxville and Judah Miller projects, all at ABC. Additionally, the company an Issa Rae comedy pilot at HBO.
Bill Lawrence‘s Doozer has two pilots, Rush Hour, which he co-wrote, and untiled Tommy Johnagin, both at CBS.
The companies behind three hit first- and second-year dramas dramas are fielding two pilots each. Empire producer Imagine TV has Problem Child at NBC and The Brainy Bunch at ABC. The company has a total of 4 pilots, with two more on the cable side — Kurt Sutter’s Bastard Executioner, a virtual lock to go to series at FX, and Clan of the Cave Bear at Lifetime.
The Blacklist producer Davis Entertainment has drama pilot Endgame at NBC and comedy Dr. Ken at ABC. And Scorpion producer K/O Paper Products has Limitless at CBS and Tales from the Darkside at CW.
Additionally, the Mark Gordon Co. has Quantico at ABC and the Criminal Minds spinoff at CBS, Mandeville TV is behind ABC dramas L.A. Crime and untitled Jenna Bans, and Peter Traugott’s TBD Entertainment has comedies Problem Child at NBC and 48 Hours ‘Til Monday at Fox.
Companies with 2 pilots – one broadcast and one cable — include Amblin (Minority Report at Fox, Lumen at TNT), which has the most series on the air of any pods, 7, and Bad Robot (Dead People at CW and Roadies at Showtime)
Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have two straight-to-series orders, for Scream Queens at Fox (with Ian Brennan) and for American Crime Story at FX.
In his first TV development season, feature producer Will Packer landed two pilots, comedies People are Talking at NBC and Uncle Buck at ABC. Additionally, Clark Peterson is executive producing CBS comedies Taxi-22 and untitled Dan O’Shannon.
Going into this development season, the studios and networks were lamenting the shortage of experienced show creators available to develop. Possibly as a result, there is a substantial number of writer-producers who have two pilots this year.
Californication creator Tom Kapinos, just back on the market following the end of his long-running Showtime series, has Dead People at the CW and Lucifer at Fox.
David Windsor & Casey Johnson are the writers/executive producers of ABC’s NBA comedy and Family of the Year. Tadd Quill has comedies Taxi-22, rolled over from last year, and Angel From Hell, both at CBS.
Writing duo Sherry Bilsing & Ellen Plummer have 46 Percenters at ABC and the untitled Monica Potter comedy at NBC. And another writing team, Steven Cragg & Brian Bradley, penned both How We Live at NBC and Uncle Buck at ABC.
Blake McCormick wrote NBC comedy Strange Calls at NBC and co-wrote CBS’ Rush Hour with Bill Lawrence.
The Office alum Danny Chun has John Stamos starrer Grandpa at Fox, which he wrote and executive produces, and Delores & Jermaine at ABC, on which he supervised the writing of the script and serves as exec producer.
And because straight-to-series orders are so rare this season, a mention of Chrissy Pietrosh & Jessica Goldstein whose Telenovela script got a 13-episode order at NBC, landing Eva Longoria as a star in a fierce battle with another project.
On the directing side, veterans Pam Fryman and James Burrows are the busiest with three multi-camera pilots each. Fryman has Fox’s untitled Dana Klein, People Are Talking at NBC and CBS’ untitled Dan O’Shannon. Burrows has NBC’s untitled Suzanne Martin, as well as Joe Time and The Half of It at CBS. Another veteran multi-camera director, Andy Ackerman, also is attached to direct three pilots, the two from Bilsing & Ellen Plummer as well as CBS’ The Mistake, which has a cast-contingent pilot order rolled over from last year. Additionally, Scott Ellis is helming the multi-camera Dr. Ken and Tommy Johnagin.
On the single-camera side, Jason Winer is directing CBS comedy pilot Life in Pieces and NBC’s Strange Calls.