With the network screenings wrapping up, we are heading into the final stage of pilot season when network executives take the pilots that had screened the best/tested the highest and see which of them fit into their schedules for next season. With ABC’s order Thursday of Black-ish‘s young Rainbow-centered prequel Mixed-ish kicking off the new series pickups, here is our final pilot buzz list.
The field of leading ABC drama contenders has narrowed down a bit. Staying strong after the screenings are early standouts PI drama Stumptown starring Cobie Smulders, the soapy, John Mayer song-inspired Heart of Life, the new NYPD Blue and the untitled Hank Steinberg /50 Cent legal drama. The Baker and the Beauty has been a dark horse. NY Undercover also has supporters; I hear its fate might be tied to that of bubble drama The Rookie as ABC is unlikely to go for three cop dramas in these two and NYPD Blue. I also hear the little ABC executives have seen of Bermuda Triangle drama Triangle, which is still filming and is only submitting a sizzle reel, looks promising but they might not make a final decision pre-upfronts.
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With the favorite on the comedy side, the Black-ish spinoff Mixed-ish, already picked up, the rest of the field is hard to handicap as it’s unclear whether the network will order more new comedy series. If it does, Untitled Leslie Odom Jr is a contender, with Woman Up, Untitled Hannah Simone and United We Fall also considered possibilities.
Robert and Michelle King’s drama pilot Evil continues to get rave reviews and looks like a lock at CBS, with the FBI: Most Wanted spinoff and legal drama All Rise also looking very good. Other possibilities on the drama side include Tommy, starring Edie Falco, and Under the Bridge.
The most talked-about CBS comedy pilots are Carol’s Second Act, headlined by Patricia Heaton; Chuck Lorre’s Bob Hearts Abishola; Broke in Reseda, starring Pauley Perrette and Jaime Camil; and The Unicorn, starring Walton Goggins. Also getting some attention is To Whom It May Concern.
The drama competition is fierce at Fox with five solid contenders. Prodigal Son, starring Tom Payne and Michael Sheen, John Slattery’s AI drama neXT and Deputy, headlined by Stephen Dorff, all have been well received, along with the Annie Weisman/Jason Katims sister drama and soapy family drama Filthy Rich, a potential companion to Empire.
No change on the comedy side. I hear the network continues to be hot on Geniuses, with Richard Lovely and Patty’s Auto also in the mix for one or two slots.
NBC’s church choir comedy Perfect Harmony, starring Bradley Whitford, the Kenan Thompson family comedy The Kenan Show, and the Magic Castle-set Like Magic are in the running for series orders, along with immigrant comedy Sunnyside and family comedy Uninsured.
On the drama side, Council of Dads continues to attract strong buzz, along with musical dramedy Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist and legal drama Bluff City Law. Outside of that, Lincoln is considered a possibility.
The four early standouts at the CW reaffirmed their front-runner status after the network screenings. That includes Batwoman, starring Ruby Rose, which people are raving about; Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene, starring Lucy Hale; Nancy Drew, toplined by Kennedy McMann; and Glamorous, headlined by Ben J. Pierce. The CW already renewed 14 scripted series for next season, but if it can stretch the budget for a fifth new series pickup, I hear The Lost Boys has a shot.
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