With the 2017 broadcast pilot season in full swing and 70 out of the hundreds of scripts developed going to production, here is Deadline’s sixth annual honor roll of those who beat the odds, and then some, juggling multiple pilots.
Aaron Kaplan‘s Kapital Entertainment, which recently announced a joint venture with CBS Corp., has six pilots — all comedy — at three networks with five different studios: CBS’ 9J, 9K and 9L from CBS TV Studios, which is the first project under the joint venture agreement; Hannah Royce’s Questionable Choices from Sony TV; and Me, Myself from Warner Bros. TV; ABC’s Charlie Foxtrot and Losing It, both with ABC Studios; and Fox’s Linda From HR, from 20th TV. Kaplan exec produces all six pilots with Dana Honor, who joined the company in the summer. Additionally, Kapital has comedy pilots Brown Girls, also exec produced by Honor, at Freeform and animated presentation Botcop at Fox. The company has six series on the air, ABC’s American Housewife and Secrets and Lies, CBS’ Life In Pieces, HBO’s Divorce, Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet and Showtime’s upcoming The Chi.
Going into the development season, Warner Bros. TV and ABC Studios bet heavily on their top pods, and they delivered big commitments that translated into pilot orders.
Greg Berlanti’s Warner Bros. Television-based Berlanti Productions has four pilots this season — a third of WBTV’s pilot haul — three dramas, Deception at ABC; Searchers and DC’s Black Lightning at the CW (the latter was originally set up at Fox) as well as the company’s second ever comedy pilot, Diablo Cody’s Raised by Wolves at ABC. Berlanti Prods., which Berlanti runs with Sarah Schechter, is behind all three drama pilot orders WBTV landed this season. (The studio’s other 2 hourlong pilots, Life Sentence and The Trustee are comedic.) Berlanti Prods. has six series on the air, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Riverdale at the CW and Blindspot on NBC.
ABC Studios-based Black-ish creator/executive producer Kenya Barris is behind three high-profile pilots at ABC — political family comedy Libby and Malcolm, starring Felicity Huffman and Courtney B. Vance, and the proposed Black-ish spinoff headlined by Yara Shahidi, which Barris co-wrote and executive produces, and spy drama Unit Zero toplined by Toni Collette, which he executive produces.
Bill Lawrence‘s development push after the end of his ongoing series resulted in a pair of broadcast pilot orders for his WBTV-based Doozer Productions, which he runs with Jeff Ingold: The CW’s hourlong Life Sentence, starring Pretty Little Liars’ Lucy Hale, and the half-hour Spaced Out at NBC.
And ABC Studios-based Shondaland, Shonda Rhimes‘ company with Betsy Beers, scored another drama pilot at ABC, the untitled Paul Williams Davies project, after already producing five drama series for the network: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, HTGAWM, The Catch and Still Star-Crossed.
Management/production company 3 Arts Entertainment has five pilots: four comedies — the Carol Burnett-starrer Household Name at ABC, produced by Amy Poehler; the Tina Fey-produced The Sackett Sisters and the untitled Charlie Grandy/Mindy Kaling project at NBC; the Adam Scott/Craig Robinson comedy Ghosted at Fox — as well as medical drama The Resident at Fox.
Keshet Studios, the U.S.-based scripted studio of Keshet International launched in July 2015 with Peter Traugott as head and Rachel Kaplan as his No.2, landed three drama pilot orders at three different networks in its first full development season under a first-look deal at Universal TV: For God and Country at NBC, Wisdom of the Crowd at CBS and Salamander at ABC. The first two are produced/co-produced by Uni TV.
It has been a strong start for Fresh Off the Boat creator Nahnatchka Khan‘s Fierce Baby banner. In the 20th TV-based company’s first development season as a full-fledged pod, it landed two comedy pilots: ABC’s Jalen vs. Everybody, starring Jalen Rose, which Khan wrote and executive produces; and NBC’s untitled Kourtney Kang project,which Khan executive produces.
How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas are back in full swing with two comedy pilots at their old network CBS, Distefano, starring comedian Chris Distefano, which they wrote and exec produce, and Hilary Winston’s Real Life, redeveloped from last year, which the Sony TV-based duo executive produce.
Will & Grace co-creator Max Mutchnick was a late entrant into the development cycle who walked away with two green lights. In January, he and follow Will & Grace co-creator David Kohan received an order for another season of the NBC comedy series after an election-themed reunion video went viral in the fall. In conjunction with the Will & Grace pickup, NBC reviewed two Mutchnick multi-camera scripts. One of them, Relatively Happy, co-written by Jeff Astrof, which was originally developed at CBS in 2015, got a pilot order as potential Will & Grace companion.
Feature scribe Dean Georgaris also saw two scripts by him — one sold this season and one originally developed a couple of years back — get pilot orders: NBC/Uni TV’s For God and Country and ABC/ABC Studios’ Las Reinas.
After launching two broadcast series in the past four years, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the short-lived Agent Carter on ABC, the ever-expanding Marvel Television this season landed its first multiple broadcast greenlights in a single season and its first order at a broadcast network other than ABC with the untitled action-adventure pilot at Fox. It is joined by the straight-to-series ABC drama The Inhumans, whose first two episodes will debut in Imax theaters before the series launches on ABC next fall. The company has five series and a limited series at Netflix, series Legion and Cloak and Dagger on FX and Freeform, respectively, and a pilot, Runaways, at Hulu.
Davis Entertainment, the Sony TV-based production company behind NBC’s Blacklist, Blacklist: Redemption, Timeless and ABC’s Dr. Ken has logged its third consecutive season with multiple broadcast pilots and the fourth in the past 5 years. The company, which John Davis runs with John Fox, has the Zach Braff ABC comedy Start Up and the Behind Enemy Lines drama reboot at Fox.
In the first full development season with his new company, the CBS Studios-based Secret Hideout, Alex Kurtzman, with longtime development executive Heather Kadin, picked up where Kurtzman’s former company with Bob Orci K/O Paper Products left off, landing two drama pilot orders at CBS for Instinct, starring Alan Cumming, and the untitled Jenny Lumet project, about hate crimes investigations. (K/O had produced two pilots a season since moving to CBS Studios). Secret Hideout also is behind the upcoming Star Trek series on CBS All Access and CBS’ new summer series Salvation, two of 5 on-air series for Kurtzman, along with CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 and Scorpion and Fox’s Sleepy Hollow.
Feature producer Simon Kinberg, who produces the X-Men film franchise for Fox, including the high-flying latest entry Logan, executive produces Fox’s Marvel action-adventure drama pilot featuring characters from the X-Men universe as well as CBS’ drama pilot Mission Control. He also is an exec producer on FX’s X-Men-themed series Legion and ABC’s Designated Survivor.
In her first development season as a producer, former CBS head of comedy Wendi Trilling, who has a pod deal with Kapital Entertainment, landed two half-hour pilot orders, both at CBS — 9J, 9K and 9L and Hannah Royce’s Questionable Choices.
Veteran multi-camera helmers James Burrows and Pam Fryman again lined up multiple directing gigs. Burrows is directing pilots Relatively Happy at CBS and Brothered Up at CBS and is directing and executive producing the Will & Grace revival. Fryman is helming CBS pilots Real Life, Distefano and 9J, 9K and 9L.
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