As expected, after spending most of the holiday weekend reading pilot scripts, Fox executives are jumping into the pilot-pickup fray in a big way. The network has ordered four pilots: dramas Frankenstein, Luther — a remake of the acclaimed British series — and Rosewood, and comedy 48 Hours ‘Til Monday.
The dramas hail from Fox sister studio 20th Century Fox TV, while 48 Hours is from Universal TV, which has become a leading comedy supplier of Fox with series Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Mindy Project and freshman Mulaney.
48 Hours marks the first pilot order to an outside studio this pilot season, the first since Fox and 20th TV were put under the same roof last summer when studio chiefs Dana Walden and Gary Newman were named Fox TV Group chairmen. Going in, the two had made it clear that the network would continue to work with all studios. Still, its pilot choices are being watched closely.
In an interview with Deadline over the weekend, Walden discussed Fox’s desire to keep the Monday lineup masculine, piloting broad, genre-themed projects as candidates to join newly renewed Gotham.
The network already has one such strong candidate in its first pilot order, Minority Report. Frankenstein is another title in the milieu. Written and executive produced by Crisis and Life creator Rand Ravich and executive produced by Homeland and Tyrant executive producer Howard Gordon, Frankenstein, which had a put pilot commitment, is described as a grounded sci-fi drama.
Taking inspiration from the basic Mary Shelley mythology of a man brought back to life by scientists playing god, Frankenstein centers on Ray Pritchard, a morally corrupt retired cop who is given a second chance at life when he is brought back from the dead. Now younger and stronger, Pritchard will have to choose between his old temptations and his new sense of purpose.
20th TV and Gordon’s studio-based Teakwood Lane Prods. produce, with the company’s Hugh Fitzpatrick serving as co-executive producer. Frankenstein brings Gordon back to his genre roots of The X-Files, Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel.
The Luther remake, which also had a put pilot commitment, was written/executive produced by the original series’ creator Neil Cross. The British series’ star, Idris Elba, is executive producing the project, which has received a cast-contingent order, a testament to how hard it will be to find an actor who can measure up to Elba’s performance in the original. Luther centers on John Luther, a near-genius murder detective whose brilliant mind can’t always save him from the dangerous violence of his passions.
Also executive producing the pilot, from 20th TV, studio-based Chernin Entertainment and BBC Worldwide Prods., are Chernin’s Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope and BBC Worldwide Prods’ Jane Tranter and Julie Gardner.
Adding more crime dramas to Fox’s lineup, which includes Bones and the upcoming Backstrom, seems a priority for the network. In addition to Luther, Fox also has ordered Rosewood (previously Autopsy), a close-ended procedural written/executive produced by Todd Harthan (Psych). It centers on the brilliant Dr. Beaumont Rosewood, Jr., the top private pathologist in Miami. As owner of one of the most sophisticated, state-of-the-art independent labs in the country, he finds the secrets in bodies that others usually miss. Despite being constantly surrounded by death, Rosewood is obsessed with life and savors every moment. Also executive producing are Temple Hill Entertainment’s Wyck Godfrey & Marty Bowen (Revenge). Harthan also developed a drama project for Fox and 20th TV last season.
The single-camera 48 Hours ‘Til Monday was written/executive produced by The Mindy Project executive producer Charlie Grandy. It chronicles one husband’s desperate struggle to not let every weekend go completely to hell. Uni TV-based Peter Traugott and Rachel Kaplan also executive produce via their TBD Productions banner.
Before joining Mindy Project, Grandy created and exec produced NBC’s Guys With Kids. He also served as co-exec producer on The Office and as a writer and producer for SNL‘s “Weekend Update.” He began his career on The Daily Show.
Fox is looking to pick up about 7 pilots each on the drama and comedy side. The network already has one drama with direct-to-series order for next season, Ryan Murphy’s Scream Queens.
For Deadline’s full coverage and broadcast and cable pilot listings, click here.
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