Black-ish creator Kenya Barris has emerged as the top writer-producer this development season with three high-profile pilots.
ABC has given a green light to Unit Zero, an action dramedy starring Toni Collette from the Black-ish duo of exec producer Barris and supervising producer Lindsey Shockley. Unit Zero joins the ABC comedy pilot Libby and Malcolm, starring Felicity Huffman and Courtney B. Vance, which Barris co-wrote with Vijal Patel, and the proposed Black-ish spinoff/backdoor pilot starring Yara Shahidi, which Barris is writing with Larry Wilmore.
Unit Zero was one of two hourlong ABC pilots picked up tonight, along with thriller drama Salamander, based on a Belgian format, from writer-producers Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Jeff Pinkner and Scott Rosenberg (CBS’ Zoo). Both projects hail from ABC Studios.
Written by Shockley, Unit Zero follows Jackie Fink (Collette), a brilliant but unassuming CIA engineer and single mom, as she leads a team of desk jockeys into the field as secret agents. Overlooked in the workplace, their invisibility makes them perfect for the CIA’s most covert missions.
Shockley executive produces with Barris as well as Collette. David Gordon Green is set to direct.
Based on the 2012 Belgian series, Salamander centers on a brilliant but misanthropic engineer who recruits a skeptical Homeland Security agent to help him track a mysterious bank robber whose theft of 66 specific safety deposit boxes, belonging to the elite and powerful, sets in motion a series of blackmails that might be linked to a greater conspiracy.
Nemec, Pinkner, Applebaum and Rosenberg, who work together under the Midnight Radio moniker, wrote the adaptation and executive produce with Keshet’s Avi Nir, Alon Shtruzman, Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan and Beta.
The original 13-episode series, written by Ward Hulselmans, centered on Paul Gerardi (Filip Peeters), an incorruptible, old-school police inspector who is investigating a suspicious bank robbery, becoming the target of both the criminals and the authorities.
In addition to Salamander, ABC has medical drama pilot The Good Doctor, based on a Korean format, one of eight drama pilots total ABC has picked up, along with the straight-to-series Marvel’s Inhumans.