Fox finally swung into upfront action today with series orders to two pilots: legal family comedy The Grinder starring Rob Lowe and medical drama Rosewood toplined by Morris Chestnut. Both hail from 20th Century Fox TV.
Thursday evening of pre-upfront week is a pretty late start of pickups for a network that presents on Monday. Fox had been expected to make the bulk if not all of its new series orders today, though that might not be the case as the deals on some still are being finalized. That includes drama Minority Report and likely Frankenstein and Lucifer, as well as comedy Grandfathered (John Stamos) and likely Cooper Barrett’s Guide To Surviving Life.
Comedy pilots 48 Hours ‘Til Monday, Fantasy Life and The Perfect Stanleys are believed to be dead, with drama Studio City not looking good.
The Grinder and Rosewood join straight-to-series dramedy Scream Queens and event series The X Files, both set for next season.
An epitome of the biblical saying “the last will be first,” The Grinder — the last pilot order at Fox and possibly all the broadcast networks with its mid-February greenlight — has been a front-runner since cuts started coming together. The only bump on the road for the comedy had been locking in a showrunner as negotiations with veteran Greg Malins took awhile. I hear he is now set, contingent on a release from his NBC pilot Take It From Us, which is not expected to go forward.
The single-camera Grinder, from Andrew Mogel, Jarrad Paul and Nick Stoller, originally was set up at Fox as a put pilot in October with no talent attached. The script by Mogel and Paul eventually attracted Lowe. After lengthy negotiations, he got on board, and the comedy was given a pilot order in February, with Jake Kasdan directing. Lowe executive produces alongside Mogel, Paul, Stoller and Kasdan, who also directed the pilot for Fox/20th TV’s New Girl. 20th TV has a history with Malins, who also was brought in at the start of How I Met Your Mother, guiding the hybrid CBS comedy from Carter Bays and Craig Thomas through its first few seasons.
Lowe stars in The Grinder as beloved TV lawyer Dean Sanderson (aka “The Grinder”), with Fred Savage starring as his brother, Stewart. When his long-running hit series comes to an end, he finds himself at a crossroads in life and decides to move back to his small home town, thinking he has the experience to take over his family’s law firm. Mary Elizabeth Ellis, William Devane and Hana Hayes co-star.
Rosewood, a closed-ended procedural written by Todd Harthan and directed by Richard Shepard, tested well, with high marks for star Chestnut. The project centers on the brilliant Dr. Beaumont Rosewood Jr. (Chestnut), the top private pathologist in all of 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. His eternal optimism will frustrate the cynical female detective he often works with, but she can’t argue with the results that his unique perspective provides. Jaina Lee Ortiz, Gabrielle Dennis, Anna Konkle and Maggie Elizabeth Jones co-star. Harthan executive produces with Temple Hill Entertainment’s Wyck Godfrey & Marty Bowen as well as Shepard.