As we close the book on another brutal pilot season, here is Deadline’s annual honor roll of those who excelled at the upfronts and had a real reason to celebrate in New York, as opposed to the rest of us who were there for the free drinks and Jimmy Kimmel. Also included is a list of pods and independent production companies with multiple series on broadcast and cable:
The Super Producer: Greg Berlanti accomplished something that is pretty hard to do — out of two pilots, he got 3 series on the air. Both Berlanti Prods. pilots, Supergirl on CBS and Blindspot on NBC, were picked up to series, along with a straight-to-series order to Arrow-Flash spinoff Legends Of Tomorrow. With the company’s 3 existing series, Arrow, The Flash and The Mysteries Of Laura, all coming back, Berlanti Prods. will have six broadcast series on the air next season. Also pretty remarkable, Berlanti co-created four of them, the superhero-themed Arrow, Flash, Supergirl and Legends.
The Hot Newcomers: In his first development season since venturing into TV with a deal at Universal Television, feature producer Will Packer landed two comedy pilots, and both of them went to series — People Are Talking at NBC and Uncle Buck at ABC. And Paramount Television, also in its first full development cycle, having launched in late summer 2013, had two new series showcased at the upfronts, Minority Report at Fox and The Alienist at TNT, plus the Grease live special on Fox.
A second consecutive strong upfront showing for Warner Bros’ DC Entertainment, with all pilots based on DC properties going to series. This year, that includes Supergirl at CBS and Lucifer at Fox as well as the straight-to-series Legends Of Tomorrow at the CW. Of the five existing DC series, four, Arrow, The Flash, Gotham and iZombie, are coming back for a total of seven DC shows on broadcast TV next season. Another, Constantine, is looking for a new home.
Mark Gordon ended his 10-year affiliation with ABC Studios with a flare, with his Mark Gordon Co. seeing both of its pilots going to series, dramas Quantico at ABC and the Criminal Minds spinoff Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders at CBS, bringing the company’s series total to 5. Also going 2-for-2 with their pilots was The Blacklist producer Davis Entertainment, which landed a second drama series on NBC, The Player, as well as a comedy pickup at ABC for Dr. Ken — all three shows on the fall schedule. Ditto for Mandeville TV, which is behind new ABC dramas Wicked City and The Family.
Two independent production companies, Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV, each added a new series to their tally. With CBS comedy Life In Pieces, six-year-old Kapital Entertainment has seven series on broadcast and cable and scored renewals for both of its broadcast freshmen, Secrets & Lies and The Mysteries Of Laura. Amblin TV, run by Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank, also is behind seven network and cable dramas, including the newest addition, Fox’s Minority Report, based on Spielberg’s movie.
NBC and ABC’s MVPs, top showrunners Dick Wolf and Shonda Rhimes, expanded their TV empires with new series. Wolf Films received series orders at NBC for the latest Chicago Fire spinoff, Chicago Med, and legal reality series You The Jury. Wolf Films now has four dramas on NBC, Law & Order: SVU and the three Chicago Fire series and also has built a sizable unscripted portfolio with four shows, You The Jury, Cold Justice and spinoff Cold Justice: Sex Crimes at TNT as well as Nightwatch at A&E. Rhimes’ Shondaland, which ruled Thursday this season, has added new drama The Catch, which also will join ABC’s TGIT lineup, bringing the company’s tally to 4 shows.
Here are several other pods that added a new show to their existing portfolios. Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci’s K/O Paper Products has new CBS drama Limitless joining the network’s Scorpion and Hawaii Five-0 and Fox’s Sleepy Hollow. Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner’s Hazy Mills added NBC comedy Crowded to their two other NBC shows, Grimm and Hollywood Game Night, as well as TV Land’s Hot In Cleveland, now in its final season, and The Soul Man. Jerry Bruckheimer TV added Lucifer to returning CSI: Cyber and The Amazing Race (plus the finale of CSI); Howard Gordon’s Teakwood Lane has new Fox drama The Frankenstein Code joining Showtime’s Homeland, FX’s Tyrant and TNT’s Legends.
Bill Lawrence’s Doozer is returning Undateable and adding Rush Hour, while Dan Fogelman’s Rhode Island Avenue has returning Galavant and newbie Grandfathered.
Among showrunners, Julie Plec added a third series to her domain at the CW, epidemic drama Containment, joining returning vampire series The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. Bates Motel, The Returned and The Strain‘s Carlton Cuse also has new USA drama Colony; Hot In Cleveland and Soul Man‘s Suzanne Martin added NBC comedy Crowded, while Criminal Minds showrunner Erica Messer also is shepherding spinoff Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders. The Big Bang Theory co-creator/executive producer Bill Prady co-created and exec produces with Bob Kushell ABC’s new comedy The Muppets.
It was a great upfront for two feature directors The Amazing Spider-Man‘s Marc Webb and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo‘s Niels Arden Oplev, who both extended their perfect pilot-to-series record with two new series each. Webb directed the pilots for new CBS drama Limitless and the CW comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, both on the fall broadcast schedule, and is executive producing both series. Oplev directed the pilots for NBC’s Game Of Silence and USA’s Mr. Robot. Another feature director, Len Wiseman, helmed a second consecutive Fox pilot that went to series, Lucifer, to join Sleepy Hollow. He exec produces both shows.
Among actors, Being Human star Meaghan Rath was a big overachiever, with two pilots in which she played a female lead going to series, NBC comedy People Are Talking and Fox comedy The Guide To Surviving Life. She is in first position to the latter, so the NBC fall series will recast the role.
BY THE NUMBERS:
(Pods/Independent production companies with multiple shows on the broadcast + major cable/digital networks):
Wolf Films: 8 (Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chicago Med, You the Jury, Cold Justice, Cold Justice: Sex Crimes, Nightwatch)
3 Arts (management/production company): 8 (Mr. Robinson, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Mindy Project, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Aziz Ansari project, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Louis, Silicon Valley )
Amblin TV: 7 (Minority Report, Under The Dome, Extant, The Whispers, Public Morals, The Americans, Falling Skies)
Kapital Entertainment: 7 (Life In Pieces, The Mysteries Of Laura, Secrets & Lies, Divorce, Instant Mom, Chasing Life, Kevin From Work)
Berlanti Prods.: 6 (Legends Of Tomorrow, Blindspot, Supergirl, The Flash, Mysteries Of Laura, Arrow)
Mark Gordon Co.: 5 (Quantico, Grey’s Anatomy, Criminal Minds, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Ray Donovan)
Timberman/Beverly: 5 (The Odd Couple, Elementary, Unforgettable, Masters Of Sex, Hindsight)
Hazy Mills: 5 (Crowded, Grimm, Hollywood Game Night, Hot In Cleveland, The Soul Man)
Alloy Entertainment: 5 (Vampire Diaries, The Originals, The 100, Significant Mother, Pretty Little Liars)
Shondaland: 4 (The Catch, How To Get Away With Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal)
K/O Paper Products: 4 (Limitless, Scorpion, Hawaii Five-0, Sleepy Hollow)
Teakwood Lane: 4 (The Frankenstein Code, Homeland, Tyrant and Legends)
Chuck Lorre Prods.: 3 (Mom, The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly)
Davis Entertainment: 3 (The Blacklist, The Player, Dr. Ken)
Jerry Bruckheimer TV: 3 (Lucifer, CSI: Cyber, The Amazing Race)
Paramount TV: 3 (Minority Report, The Alienist, School of Rock)
Bad Robot: 3 (Person of Interest, Westworld, 11/22/63)
Will Packer Prods.: 2 (People Are Talking, Uncle Buck)
The Tannenbaum Co.: 2 (The Odd Couple, Impastor)
Doozer: 2 (Undateable, Rush Hour)
Electus: 2 (Jane The Virgin, Marco Polo)