We are 10 days away from the start of the traditional upfront week and a day into the new series pickup window, which kicked off yesterday with NBC’s order to the Quantum Leap pilot. Getting intel on broadcast pilots is harder than ever as that marketplace has contracted over the last five years but here is what I hear as we head into pre-upfront week. You can use for reference the Early Pilot Buzz report Deadline ran on Monday.
At ABC, the The Rookie planted spinoff starring Niecy Nash and the Alaska project drama pilot, starring Hilary Swank, remain very strong contenders, with the L.A. Law sequel, headlined by Blair Underwood, getting some traction, mostly due to the attractive marketing opportunities its iconic IP presents. Comedy pilot Not Dead Yet, starring Gina Rodrigues, also has been gaining some support at the network, I hear. (Not in fall consideration are ABC drama pilots The Company You Keep, Untitled Kay Oyegun, Will Trent and Untitled National Parks as well as comedy The Son in Law. David E. Kelley’s straight-to-series drama Avalon is believed to be for midseason.)
Still not a lot of clarity at CBS. Firefighter drama Cal Fire continues to look like a frontrunner. Beyond that, cop drama East New York also is said to be solid, with the Mother & Son legal drama believed to in the mix too. The Early Edition reboot has cooled off a bit, while True Lies continues to divide opinions but sources see a possible path to the air based on its popular IP and potentially advantageous dealmaking.
On the comedy side, presentation Hug Machine and pilot Rust Belt News continue to garner buzz.
2022 CBS Pilots & Series Orders
NBC yesterday became the first network to pick up a pilot to series, giving a series order to Quantum Leap, which had been considered a strong contender and was the only drama pilot in consideration for fall. As Deadline reported, the pilot is expected to undergo some reshoots and is eyed for the post-Voice slot. There had been chatter that NBC may expedite post-production on its other drama pilots that are in advanced stages Unbroken and Blank Slate, for fall consideration, but that does not appear to be the case. The other ordered NBC drama pilots are being produced off-cycle.
NBC’s two comedy pilots, Lopez vs. Lopez and Hungry, remain neck and neck, with Lopez vs. Lopez, a collaboration between George Lopez and his daughter, still believed to have a slight edge.
2022 NBC Pilots & Series Orders
Two projects that had been put on a script-to-series track, John Eisendrath’s procedural drama Alert and Steve Yockey’s meteorologist comedy Cindy Snow, continue to build momentum and look likely to go to series, The network’s only pilot ordered during the 2022 pilot window this year, an Untitled Michelle Nader comedy presentation, also remains a strong contender for a series pickup.
The CW’s three pilots this season — all based on underlying IP — remain strong contenders as the cuts start to come in: Supernatural prequel The Winchesters, Walker origin story Walker: Independence and Gotham Knights. Because of their pedigree, solid execution and the fact that this is half the number of pilots the CW has normally picked up over the past decade, I hear there is a possibility for all of them to go to series.
As we reported earlier this week, Walker: Independence is described as a sprawling Western, The Winchesters as the strongest attempt at a Supernatural spinoff to date, and Gotham Kings as another solid DC pilot from Berlanti Prods., which also has plenty of easter eggs to attract Batman fans. (Gotham Kings‘ prospects also were improved significantly by the recent cancellations of Batwoman and Legends of Tomorrow.)
So far, it does not look that Nexstar’s pending acquisition of a majority stake in the CW would close before the upfronts but even if that does not happen, the network remains disciplined in its choices with fewer scripted series expected to be on deck for next season than in recent years.
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