Upfronts 2015: Pilots Start To Get Passes
The broadcast pilot season started late and is ending late, with series pickups coming behind the usual timetable. And while we are anxiously waiting for the first orders at Fox and more pickups from NBC — the first two networks to present next Monday — some pilots have started to receive the dreaded news that they would not be moving forward. I hear that includes ABC multi-camera comedies Delores & Jermaine, Family Fortune, Johnny Knoxville and Brainy Bunch as well as the CW drama Tales from the Darkside. UPDATE MONDAY PM: I hear more ABC pilots are nor moving forward, including Judah Miller, Chev & Bev and NBA comedy as well as dramas The Kingsmakers and The Advocate. Read full story here.
Family Fortune, co-created by and starring Fortune Feimster and executive produced by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock through Universal TV, was one of two ABC comedy pilots about a son/daughter coming out to their family, along with the single-camera Family of the Year. Like Family Fortune, the odd couple Delores & Jermaine was co-written, toplined by and titled after a comedian, Jermaine Fowler, who starred alongside ABC personality, The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg. Possibly factoring into Delores & Jermaine‘s fate was the fact that the ABC Studios-produced project’s co-writer/executive producer Danny Chun has another pilot for the studio, which is going to series, the John Stamos comedy at Fox. The pass to the two half-hours narrows the ABC multi-camera field to a third semi-autobiographical vehicle co-written and starring a comedian, Ken Joeng’s Dr. Ken, and Uncle Buck starring Mike Epps.
On the single-camera side, the Johnny Knoxville project and The Brainy Bunch aka untitled Molyneux family comedy, starring James Roday and Melanie Griffith, never got traction. The Johnny Knoxville comedy, narrated by Johnny Knoxville and based on his life, faced issues early on and filmed a presentation instead of a full pilot.
The CW, which already renewed 9 series and has the Arrow-Flash spinoff on tap for midseason, only ordered four pilots. Of them, Julie Plec’s Cordon has been the clear frontrunner. The anthology Tales From the Darkside had been getting traction with a well executed pilot but its anthology format was a source of uncertainty about how a full season would look, and the project was in need of a showrunner.
Tales from the Darkside, which abruptly cancelled staffing meetings yesterday, was one of two CBS TV Studios-produced pilots at the CW. (Cordon and Arrow-Flash spinoff hail from the network’s other sister studio, Warner Bros. TV). The CW always has picked up at least one new series from CBS TV Studios, which increases the chances of the studio’s other pilot, satire Cheerleader Death Squad, from Marc Cherry, Neal Baer and Dan Truly. (UPDATE: I hear Cheerleader Death Squad also is dead.) The remaining CW pilot, WBTV/Bad Robot’s Dead People, does not look good at the moment.