2014-15 Fox New Series
BACKSTROM (originally piloted by CBS last season)
ORDERED STRAIGHT TO SERIES; 13 EPISODES
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox TV, Far Field Productions
TEAM: Hart Hanson (w, ep), Kevin Hooks (ep), Leif G.W. Persson, (ep), Niclas Salomonsson (ep), Mark Mylod (d, ep)
LOGLINE: From creator/executive producer Hart Hanson (BONES), BACKSTROM is a subversive and comic crime procedural about an unhealthy, offensive, irascible – albeit brilliant – detective who is brought back from exile to run the Portland Police Bureau’s Special Crimes Unit (S.C.U.). Detective Lieutenant EVERETT BACKSTROM is a man with no filter. After a five-year banishment to the traffic division for offensive behavior, he has returned from disgrace to lead Portland’s newly minted S.C.U. Tasked with navigating the city’s most sensitive and serious cases, he must solve each crime as he tries, and fails, to change his own self-destructive behavior. To no one’s surprise, Backstrom’s return is far from well-received, especially by his commanding officer, Police Chief ANNA CERVANTES (guest star Inga Cadranel, “Orphan Black”). Backstrom’s second-in-command and the person who actually supervises the day-to-day operations of the S.C.U. is Detective NICOLE GRAVELY. The ambitious and optimistic yin to Backstrom’s yang, she extends herself to the limit to counterbalance his erratic and controversial behavior. By her side is Detective Sergeant JOHN ALMOND, a tested veteran of the Bureau who doesn’t approve of Backstrom’s xenophobic antics; although he tries to find the light in people, when it comes to Backstrom, he sees only darkness. The group’s forensics liaison is Sergeant PETER NIEDERMAYER, a handsome, free-spirited, philosophical man whose open approach to the universe pushes all of Backstrom’s buttons. Managing the chain of evidence at S.C.U. headquarters is civilian support NADIA PAQUET, a beautiful French immigrant with a profound ability to navigate both cyberspace and legal bureaucracy. She also takes a liking to Backstrom and, at least technically, fills Backstrom’s doctor’s prescription to “make a friend.” On the street, uniformed officer FRANK MOTO proves his value by suppressing the perpetrators and swiftly maneuvering around hostile conditions. Meanwhile, GREGORY VALENTINE, who serves as Backstrom’s tenant, decorator and underworld connection, has a genuine fondness for the abrasive cop. Using his dark instincts and peculiar abilities, Backstrom always manages to outsmart his foes, manipulate his peers and, with the help of his eccentric team, solve the case, even as he less ably adjusts to the progressive sensibilities of 21st century Portland.
CAST: Rainn Wilson, Genevieve Angelson, Kristoffer Polaha, Dennis Haysbert, Page Kennedy, Beatrice Rosen, Thomas Dekker
PICKED UP TO SERIES
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox TV, Imagine TV
TEAM: Danny Strong (w, ep), Lee Daniels (d, w, ep), Brian Grazer (ep), Francie Calfo (ep)
LOGLINE: From Academy Award nominee Lee Daniels (“Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Precious”) and Emmy Award winner Danny Strong (“Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “Game Change”), comes EMPIRE, a sexy and powerful new drama about the head of a music empire whose three sons and ex-wife all battle for his throne. LUCIOUS LYON is the king of hip-hop. An immensely talented artist, the CEO of Empire Entertainment and a former street thug, his reign has been unchallenged for years. But all that changes, when he learns he has a disease that is going to render him crippled and incapacitated in a matter of three years. The clock is ticking, and he must groom one of his three sons to take over his crowning achievement, without destroying his already fractured family. Lucious’ favorite is his youngest son, HAKEEM, a gifted musician and a spoiled playboy who values fame over hard work. The middle son, JAMAL, is a sensitive soul and a musical prodigy who, unlike Hakeem, shies away from the spotlight. Jamal also happens to be gay, which infuriates and embarrasses his father. ANDRE, the eldest son, is CFO of Empire Entertainment. Wharton-educated with a brilliant business mind, Andre lacks the charisma that Lucious believes is crucial to running the company. But in his quest for power, Andre is assisted by his manipulative and like-minded wife, RHONDA. As Lucious prompts his sons to vie for the empire, his plans are thrown into chaos when his ex-wife, COOKIE, mysteriously emerges seven years early from prison, where she’s been for almost two decades. Brash and fearless, she sees herself as the sacrificial lamb who built this empire with Lucious and then took the fall for running the drugs that financed Lucious’ early career. For now, Lucious remains firmly in control of Empire Entertainment. He is attended to by his hard-working assistant, BECKY, and relies on longtime friend and Chairman of the Board VERNON TURNER for advice and support. He relies on a whole lot more from ANIKA GIBBONS, the head of A&R for Empire, and his current girlfriend. As the Lyons slug it out, an emotional chess game begins that will either cause the family’s destruction or redemption. Lives and loves will be lost as the complicated family will come together and fall apart over the elusive throne, all set to an original soundtrack written and produced by legendary hip-hop hitmaker Timbaland. Will the family unite and learn to love each other before it’s too late? Love, war, family, sacrifice, money and music: this is the story of the Lyons’ EMPIRE.
CAST: Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollet, Bryshere Y. Gray, Timothy “Timbaland” Mosley, Malik Yoba, Gabourey Sidibe, Trai Byers, Grace Gealey, Kaitlin Doubleday
PICKED UP TO SERIES
STUDIO: Warner Bros TV
TEAM: Bruno Heller (w, ep), Danny Cannon (d, ep), John Stevens (ep)
LOGLINE: Before there was Batman, there was GOTHAM. Everyone knows the name Commissioner Gordon. He is one of the crime world’s greatest foes, a man whose reputation is synonymous with law and order. But what is known of Gordon’s story and his rise from rookie detective to Police Commissioner? What did it take to navigate the multiple layers of corruption that secretly ruled Gotham City, the spawning ground of the world’s most iconic villains? And what circumstances created them – the larger-than-life personas who would become Catwoman, The Penguin, The Riddler, Two-Face and The Joker? GOTHAM is an origin story of the great DC Comics Super-Villains and vigilantes, revealing an entirely new chapter that has never been told. From executive producer/writer Bruno Heller (“The Mentalist,” “Rome”), GOTHAM follows one cop’s rise through a dangerously corrupt city teetering on the edge of evil, and chronicles the birth of one of the most popular super heroes of our time. Growing up in Gotham City’s surrounding suburbs, JAMES GORDON romanticized the city as a glamorous and exciting metropolis where his late father once served as a successful district attorney. Now, two weeks into his new job as a Gotham City detective and engaged to his beloved fiancée, BARBARA KEAN, Gordon is living his dream — even as he hopes to restore the city back to the pure version he remembers it was as a kid. Brave, honest and ready to prove himself, the newly minted detective is partnered with the brash, but shrewd police legend HARVEY BULLOCK, as the two stumble upon the city’s highest-profile case ever: the murder of local billionaires Thomas and Martha Wayne. At the scene of the crime, Gordon meets the sole survivor: the Waynes’ hauntingly intense 12-year-old son, BRUCE, toward whom the young detective feels an inexplicable kinship. Moved by the boy’s profound loss, Gordon vows to catch the killer. As he navigates the often-underhanded politics of Gotham’s criminal justice system, Gordon will confront imposing gang boss FISH MOONEY, and many of the characters who will become some of fiction’s most renowned, enduring villains, including a teenaged SELINA KYLE/the future CATWOMAN and OSWALD COBBLEPOT/THE PENGUIN. While the crime drama will follow Gordon’s turbulent and singular rise through the Gotham City police department, led by Police Captain SARAH ESSEN, it also will focus on the unlikely friendship Gordon forms with the young heir to the Wayne fortune, who is being raised by his unflappable butler, ALFRED. It is a friendship that will last them all of their lives, playing a crucial role in helping the young boy eventually become the crusader he’s destined to be. Based upon characters published by DC Entertainment.
CAST: Ben McKenzie, Erin Richards, Donal Logue, David Mazouz, Jada Pinkett Smith, Camren Bicondova, Robin Lord Taylor, Zabryna Guevara, Sean Pertwee, Drew Powell, Cory Michael Smith.
ORDERED STRAIGHT TO SERIES FOR NEXT SEASON; 13 EPISODES
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox TV, Chernin Entertainment
TEAM: Travis Beacham (w, ep), Peter Chernin (ep), Katherine Pope (ep), Anna Fricke, Miguel Sapochnik (d, ep)
LOGLINE: The world of ancient Egypt – a time of magic, Pharaohs, gods and thieves – lives again in HIEROGLYPH, an exciting action-adventure series from creator/executive producer Travis Beacham (“Pacific Rim,” “Clash of the Titans”). When a dangerous scroll, The Book of Thresholds, is stolen from Egypt’s most secure vault, master thief AMBROSE is plucked from prison to track down the perpetrator. Having spent the past five years in the darkest of pits, Ambrose quickly learns that his prison cell might be safer than the dangerous new world in which he finds himself: Atum, the empire’s capital. Ambrose must answer to Pharaoh SHAI KANAKHT, a god in the flesh, a young ruler with a cool charm and a violent, frightening temper. The question for Ambrose is not whether he can trust his new boss, but whether he can trust anyone. Also stalking the halls of the palace is NEFERTARI KANAKHT, half-sister to the Pharaoh, whose relationship with Shai’s closest advisor, MAGISTER BEK, masks her own designs for power. Finding few leads in the palace, Ambrose’s investigation takes him to the doorstep of his long-lost love, PESHET, a magic-wielding adoratrice, a type of homespun priestess who uses her femininity as a portal to the gods…for the right price. Peshet was the keystone in Ambrose’s merry band of thieves, an impressionable youth with great knowledge of magic, a woman who never saw a lock for which she didn’t have an unlocking charm. Five years later, Peshet has left her old life behind in a pious pursuit of divine contact. Ambrose’s journey also leads him to old friends, such as VOCIFER, a peddler of mystical wares and Ambrose’s mentor. But he also comes face-to-face with foes both old and new, from RAWSER, the Pharoah’s captain of the guard, who imprisoned him five years ago; to LOTUS TENRY, a palace concubine and spy for a rival kingdom. As Ambrose unravels the mystery of The Book of Thresholds, he begins to see the extent to which sorcery has seeped into the halls of power in ancient Egypt, and how close it is to causing this great civilization’s downfall.
CAST: Reece Ritchie, Kelsey Chow, Condola Rashad, John Rhys-Davies, Caroline Ford, Antony Bunsee, Max Brown, Hal Ozsan
RED BAND SOCIETY
PICKED UP TO SERIES
STUDIO: ABC Studios, Amblin TV
TEAM: Margaret Nagle (w, ep), Steven Spielberg (ep), Justin Falvey (ep), Darryl Frank (ep), Sergio Aguero (ep), Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (d)
LOGLINE: What if a hospital was your high school, boarding school and summer camp rolled into one? What if it was the place where you fell in love for the first time and made friendships that lasted a lifetime? And what if it was all weirdly hilarious and the most fun you ever had in your entire life? This is the world of RED BAND SOCIETY. From Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television, starring Academy Award-winning actress Octavia Spencer and based on the award-winning Spanish series, “Polseres Vermelles,” RED BAND SOCIETY is a provocative, unconventional and, at times, comic high school drama told through the eyes of a group of teenagers who meet as patients in the pediatric ward of Ocean Park Hospital in Los Angeles. The series is part comedy, part drama, with a tone that’s unique unto itself. Twelve-year-old narrator CHARLIE is in a coma in the hospital. Charlie’s friends and fellow patients include JORDI PALACIOS, a 16-year-old who illegally crosses the Mexican border into California to seek out treatment at the renowned hospital. What he soon discovers is that it’s not his illness that’s going to change his life, but his new friends. Also at the hospital is LEO ROTH. At 16, Leo is charismatic and independent. But after living at the hospital for a year, he’s starting to lose his way. When he’s forced to room with Jordi, he’s angry and resentful, until he realizes they are more alike than he could imagine. The pediatric ward is run by NURSE JACKSON, a caregiver with a take-no-prisoners approach to getting these kids through the most difficult part of their lives. Overseeing much of the treatment in the ward is DR. JACK McANDREW, the country’s top pediatric surgeon. Also attending to the patients is the naïve and gullible Nurse BRITTANY DOBLER, who allows the kids to get away with things they probably shouldn’t. Among those taking advantage of Nurse Dobler is Leo’s best friend, DASH HOSNEY. Suffering from cystic fibrosis, 16-year-old Dash is determined to live every day as if it’s his last. Also on the ward is 15-year-old EMMA CHOTA, Leo’s on-again-off-again girlfriend, who suffers from an eating disorder. Rounding out this group of patients is “mean girl” KARA SOUDERS, a 16-year-old cheerleader who is brought in with heart failure and shares a room with Charlie. Daring everyone to up their game, she also goes head-to-head with Nurse Jackson. Although many young patients who are seriously ill make complete recoveries, that day seems a long way off for these teens. And as they confront questions of life and death which no one at that age should have to face, a kinship based on these shared experiences is created – a bond represented by the red hospital bands issued to them upon admittance. This is the story of the RED BAND SOCIETY.
CAST: Griffin Gluck, Octavia Spencer, Charlie Rowe, Rebecca Rittenhouse, Zoe Levin, Brian “Astro” Bradley, Ciara Bravo, Nolan Sotillo, Dave Annable
LAST MAN ON EARTH (single camera)
ORDERED STRAIGHT TO SERIES
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox TV
TEAM: Will Forte (w, ep), Phil Lord (d, ep), Chris Miller (d, ep), Seth Cohen (ep)
LOGLINE: From writer/producer Will Forte (“Nebraska,” “Saturday Night Live”) and directors/producers Chris Miller and Phil Lord (“The Lego Movie,” ”21 Jump Street”), THE LAST MAN ON EARTH is a new single-camera comedy about the life and adventures of the last man on earth. The year is 2022, and after an unlikely event, only one man is left on earth: PHIL MILLER (Forte), who used to be just an average guy who loved his family and hated his job at the bank. Now, in his RV, Phil searches the country for other survivors. He has traveled to every city, every town and every outpost in the United States, Mexico and Canada, and has found no one, which leads him to the painful realization that he is almost certainly the last living being on the face of the earth. Sure, there are some positives that come with being the last person on earth. You can go live in the White House if you want. You can park in handicapped spots without an ounce of guilt. You can decorate your home with priceless works of art. You wanna wear a pair of tighty-whiteys and nothing else every single day of the year? Not a problem. THE LAST MAN ON EARTH is a comedy about a man trying to make lemonade out of the most soul-crushing lemon there is. But if anyone can do it, Phil Miller can. He’s not about to give up now. He is sad and so, so very lonely. But he’ll get through this. Because there’s a small kernel of hope that somewhere out there is another survivor. And maybe one day, they’ll run into each other. That would be a good day. And if that survivor happened to be a woman? Well, then that would be a great day.
CAST: Will Forte
MULANEY (multi-camera; tentative title; originally piloted by NBC last season)
ORDERED STRAIGHT TO SERIES; 16 EPISODES (upped from 6)
STUDIO: Universal TV, Broadway Video, 3 Arts Entertainment
TEAM: John Mulaney (w, ep), Lorne Michaels (ep), Andrew Singer (ep), Andy Ackerman (d, ep), Dave Becky (ep), David Miner (ep), Jon Pollack
LOGLINE: From Emmy Award-winning writer and comedian John Mulaney (“Saturday Night Live”) comes MULANEY, a multi-camera ensemble comedy series about a rising stand-up comic trying to take his career to the next level and the friends and mentors who lift him up, hold him back and push him around. JOHN MULANEY is a 29-year-old comedian working the stand-up circuit and looking for his big break. But life drastically changes when self-centered comedy legend and game show host LOU CANNON hires Mulaney as a writer. Lou may be John’s entrée into the world of big-money show business, but he’s also a total nightmare. Still, the job represents everything Mulaney thinks he wants. But does he really? And, at what cost? And what does it say about him if he quits? And what does it say about him if he stays? And has Lou had work done? Mulaney’s life becomes a tug-of-war between the stress of his new job and his guilt over not being there for his two best friends and roommates: JANE, a tightly wound, yet directionless personal trainer; and MOTIF, a powerhouse comic who shares nothing in common with Mulaney – except the world of stand-up. Rounding out this odd group of friends is ANDRE, a trust-fund baby who has a knack for showing up in Mulaney’s life at the worst possible moments. If Mulaney has one refuge from the chaos that surrounds him, then it’s his neighbor, OSCAR, a 71-year-old gay veteran of New York who has seen it all. Oscar is opinionated, refined, gentle, wise and sometimes extremely cantankerous, but most of all, he’s an oracle of sound advice when Mulaney feels like life has gone off the rails. A unique mix of ensemble comedy, stand-up performances and an observational point-of-view, MULANEY is a show about the big questions in life: how hard they are to answer and how easy it is to maybe just ignore them and pray they go away.
CAST: John Mulaney, Martin Short, Elliott Gould, Nasim Pedrad, Seaton Smith, Zack Pearlman
WEIRD LONERS (single camera)
ORDERED STRAIGHT TO SERIES; 6 EPISODES
STUDIO: 20th Century Fox TV
TEAM: Michael Weithorn (w, ep), Jake Kasdan (d, ep), Melvin Mar (ep)
LOGLINE: WEIRD LONERS is a new single-camera comedy about four relationship-phobic, quasi-underdog 30-somethings who are unexpectedly thrust into one another’s lives, forming unlikely bonds in a Queens, NY, townhouse. CARYN GOLDFARB is a cute, but high-strung dental hygienist whose romantic life, unfortunately, is dictated by the love-crazed, ultra-romantic 13-year-old barricaded inside the control room of her brain. Each time a handsome new man crosses her field of vision, infatuation and extreme over-eagerness take over, and she inevitably winds up back at square one – single and not getting any younger. Wall Street player – that is, until he romances his boss’ fiancée and gets unceremoniously canned – STOSH LEWANDOSKI is handsome, charming and whip-smart. He’s a serial seducer who has never been able to maintain an intimate relationship with a woman for very long – a couple of hours, usually. When Stosh’s shenanigans result in him losing his corporate condo, he winds up moving in with his cousin, ERIC LEWANDOSKI, a sweet, odd man-child. Thus far, Eric’s adult life has consisted of living at home with elderly parents and working as a toll collector on the Queensboro Bridge. After both of his parents pass away, he finds himself cast adrift in the world for the first time. On a Stosh-mandated mission to redecorate their dated apartment, Eric strikes up a friendship with ZARA SANDHU, while buying one of her paintings on the street. Drop-dead gorgeous, mysterious and ethereal, Zara is a lifelong heartbreaker who’s only capable of living one way – “in the moment.” Men and women fall in love with her on a regular basis, and she often reciprocates their feelings with great passion, until… she doesn’t. As fate would have it, Eric lives next door to Caryn, who finds herself unable to resist one of Stosh’s particularly ill-timed advances, putting the kibosh on her pending engagement to a kind, but boring, father of two. The split leaves her single, again, and in need of a roommate, prompting Zara to move in, and bringing together these four people who, each for their own distinct reasons, are solo singles when most of their peers are well along the path of marriage and family. Perhaps they are “weird loners,” as Stosh points out, or maybe they are just real people with messy, imperfect lives whose new friendships with each other already are changing their individual trajectories for the better.
CAST: Zachary Knighton, Nate Torrence, Becki Netwon, Meera Khumbhani