ABC has made its first official new scripted series selections for the 2020-21 season, handing straight-to-series orders to David E. Kelley’s drama Big Sky, starring Kylie Bunbury and Katheryn Winnick, and Kari Lizer’s multi-camera comedy Call Your Mother (fka My Village), headlined by Kyra Sedgwick.
They will join 11 returning ABC scripted series, which have been renewed for next season, including eight picked up today, as well as the previously announced Supermarket Sweep series reboot with Leslie Jones, which also will debut next season.
“At a time when we are physically apart and shared experiences matter more than ever, these shows will build on the strategy that has made us No. 1 this season – bringing people together, creating cultural moments, and making content that entertains and inspires across generations and demographics,” said ABC Entertainment President Karey Burke, referring to ABC’s No.1 finish for the 2019-20 season (outright or tied with NBC and Fox, depending on metric) with entertainment programming, excluding sports.
Big Sky (fka.The Big Sky) had a series commitment/ order from the get-go, though it was formally contingent on ABC seeing a pilot, while Call Your Mother had a pilot order. Big Sky, from A+E Studios and 20th Century Fox TV, already had a writers room working on additional scripts, while Call Your Mother, from Sony Pictures TV and ABC Studios, had received an order from the network for 2 backup scripts.
The remaining ABC pilots, including high-profile dramas Rebel, starring Katey Sagal, and thirtysomething sequel thirtysomething(else), both of which also had opened writers rooms, remain in contention. I hear some will be piloted later, when Hollywood production is safe to resume, and there is a chance that some will go straight-to-series like The Big Sky and Call Your Mother.
Disney TV Studios, whose divisions 20th Century Fox TV and ABC Studios produce or co-produce all ABC pilots, is in the process of extending the options of the casts of all outstanding pilots through Sept. 30, I hear. As Deadline reported earlier this month, Disney TV Studios is among the studios that started paying the actors on their pilots, which allows the studio to amend cast deals and extend options.
As the coronavirus pandemic completely upended the 2020 pilot season, with all pilots grounded before most had started production, the networks ordered backup scripts for their pilots to give them a better sense of projects’ potential and help them make straight-to-series decisions. All nets originally commissioned one backup script, with ABC subsequently ordering a second for all of their pilots.
Besides the three projects with writers rooms and Call Your Mother, among those that had been garnering very early buzz were drama Harlem’s Kitchen and comedy Home Economics.
This marks a second series order for the industrious Kelley today; Netflix this morning announced his new anthology Anatomy of a Scandal.
Written and executive produced by The Practice creator in his return to ABC, Big Sky is based on The Highway, the first book in C.J. Box’s Cassie Dewell series of novels. In the procedural thriller, private detective Cassie Dewell (Bunbury) partners with ex-cop Jenny Hoyt (\Winnick) on a search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana. When they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, they must race against the clock to stop the killer before another woman is taken.
Written and executive produced by The New Adventures Of Old Christine creator Lizer, Call Your Mother revolves around an empty-nester mom, Jean Raines (Sedgwick), who wonders how she ended up alone while her children live their best lives thousands of miles away. She decides her place is with her family and as she reinserts herself into their lives, her kids realize they might actually need her more than they thought.
Here are more details about the newly picked up series:
From visionary storyteller David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies) comes Big Sky, a thriller created by Kelley, who will write multiple episodes and serve as showrunner in its premiere season. Private detectives Cassie Dewell and Cody Hoyt join forces with his estranged wife and ex-cop, Jenny Hoyt, to search for two sisters who have been kidnapped by a truck driver on a remote highway in Montana. But when they discover that these are not the only girls who have disappeared in the area, they must race against the clock to stop the killer before another woman is taken. Based on the series of books by C.J. Box, Big Sky is executive produced by David E. Kelley, Ross Fineman, Matthew Gross, Paul McGuigan and C.J. Box and is produced by A+E Studios in association with 20th Century Fox Television. A+E Studios is the studio unit of the global media company A+E Networks. 20th Century Fox Television is a part of Disney Television Studios, alongside ABC Studios and Fox 21 Television Studios.
Cast: Katheryn Winnick as Jenny Hoyt, Kylie Bunbury as Cassie Dewell, Brian Geraghty as Ronald Pergman, Dedee Pfeiffer as Denise Brisbane, Natalie Alyn Lind as Danielle Sullivan, Jesse James Keitel as Jerrie, with John Carroll Lynch as Rick Legarski and Ryan Phillippe as Cody Hoyt.
CALL YOUR MOTHER
From Kari Lizer (The New Adventures of Old Christine), this multicamera comedy follows an empty-nester mom who wonders how she ended up alone while her children live their best lives thousands of miles away. She decides her place is with her family and as she reinserts herself into their lives, her kids realize they might actually need her more than they thought. Call Your Mother is produced by Sony Pictures Television & ABC Studios. ABC Studios is a part of Disney Television Studios, alongside 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios.
Cast: Kyra Sedgwick as Jean Raines, Rachel Sennott as Jackie Raines, Joey Bragg as Freddie Raines, Patrick Brammall as Danny, Emma Caymares as Celia and Austin Crute as Lane.
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