NBC, the first broadcast network to present its 2015-16 lineup on May 11, has been one step ahead this pilot season — making the first pilot order to drama Warrior and being the first network to give pilots permission to begin staffing with nods to dramas The Player (formerly Endgame), Blindspot and Heartbreaker (formerly Heart Matters). Now NBC has become the first network to pick up pilots to series for next season — Blindspot, Heartbreaker and Chicago Fire spinoff, Chicago Med, which had been fully expected to go to series, likely for midseason where fellow spinoff Chicago PD launched successfully.
The only mild surprise in the first NBC series pickups is that they featured three of the four dramas that had been considered locks for a series order following the staffing permissions earlier this week, leaving out The Player.
However, for those who have followed closely the NBC-Sony TV upfront dynamic, this should not come as a shocker. Two years ago, when NBC made the bulk of their pilot orders, one title was conspicuously missing, NBC’s highest-testing drama pilot in 10 years, the Sony-produced The Blacklist. It was picked up later in a complex deal between NBC and Sony TV that reportedly included a small stake in the show for NBC, a Monday 10 PM slot for The Blacklist as well as series pickups of two other Sony TV pilots, medical drama The Night Shift and comedy Welcome To The Family, and a renewal of Community.
The Player, which comes from the same production company as The Blacklist, Davis Entertainment, also has been flying high, and is currently staffing in anticipation of a series order. If history is any indication, its pickup may again be a part of intense negotiations between NBC and Sony that may again involve ownership, The Night Shift as well as another drama pilot the independent studio has at NBC, Game of Silence. (I hear there have been no talks between the two companies yet.) The Night Shift‘s chances got complicated today by the pickup of two new medical shows, procedural Chicago Med and soapy drama Heartbreaker starring Melissa George.
The Chicago Med pickup gives Dick Wolf four drama series on NBC next season, three in the Chicago Fire franchise plus Law & Order: SVU. The order for Blindspot also brings the number of broadcast series produced by Greg Berlanti next season to 4, including Arrow, The Flash and the Arrow-Flash spinoff. He also has pilot Supergirl in strong consideration at CBS and freshman series The Mysteries Of Laura in renewal contention at NBC.
Blindspot, from Warner Bros. TV, had been a standout at NBC from the get-go. The conspiracy/mystery drama, written and executive produced by Martin Gero, got early attention by landing two of the most heavily pursued actors this pilot season, Jaimie Alexander and Sullivan Stapleton.
Heartbreaker and Chicago Med both hail from NBC’s sibling Universal Television, Heartbreaker, written by Jill Gordon and produced by Amy Brenneman, was a favorite script back in January. And Chicago Med, from Dick Wolf, Matt Olmstead, Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, sealed its pickup with a strong ratings showing for the planted spinoff episode of Chicago Fire featuring the medical drama’s cast, led by Oliver Platt and S. Epatha Merkerson. Here are details about NBC’s newly picked up drama series:
From executive producer Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash,” “The Mysteries of Laura”) comes “Blindspot”: A vast international plot explodes when a beautiful Jane Doe is discovered naked in Times Square, completely covered in mysterious, intricate tattoos with no memory of who she is or how she got there. There’s one that’s very clear, however: the name of FBI agent Kurt Weller, emblazoned across her back. “Jane,” Agent Weller and rest of the FBI quickly realize that each mark on her body is a crime to solve, leading them closer to the truth about her identity and the mysteries to be revealed.
The cast includes Sullivan Stapleton, Jaimie Alexander, Audrey Esparza, Rob Brown, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Ukweli Roach and Ashley Johnson.
Martin Gero serves as writer and executive producer. Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter and director Mark Pellington (pilot) also executive produce. “Blindspot” is produced by Warner Bros. Television and Berlanti Productions.
Executive producer Dick Wolf delivers the newest installment of the compelling “Chicago” franchise, an emotional thrill ride through the day-to-day chaos of the city’s most explosive hospital and the courageous team of doctors who hold it together. They will tackle unique new cases inspired by topical events, forging fiery relationships in the pulse-pounding pandemonium of the emergency room, and through it all, familiar faces from the Chicago police and fire departments will intertwine as this third team of Chicago heroes hits the ground running.
The cast includes Oliver Platt, S. Epatha Merkerson, Laurie Holden, Nick Gehlfuss and Yaya Dacosta.
Dick Wolf, Matt Olmstead, Michael Brandt and Derek Haas serve as writers and executive producers. Danielle Gelber, Peter Jankowski and director Joe Chappelle (pilot) also executive produce. “Chicago Med” is produced by Universal Television and Wolf Films.
Based on the real life and achievements of Dr. Kathy Magliato, this unique character-driven medical drama follows Dr. Alex Panttiere (Melissa George, “The Slap”), an outspoken world-renowned heart-transplant surgeon and one of the few women in her field. Stubborn and fearless, Alex always operates on her own terms. She revels in a racy personal life that’s a full-time job in itself, manages the daily demands of skeptical faculty and dutiful interns, and pushes the boundaries of medical science to impressive new heights.
The cast includes Melissa George, Dave Annable, Don Hany, Shelley Conn, D.L. Hughley, Jamie Kennedy, Maya Erskine, J. Louis Mills and Joshua Leonard.
Jill Gordon serves as writer and executive producer. Amy Brenneman, Brad Silberling and director Robbie Duncan McNeill also executive produce. “Heartbreaker” is produced by Universal Television.