Upfronts 2018: The Overachievers List

Courtesy of CBS/International

As we close the book on a wild upfront, with a lot of drama, some last-minute pickups, many cancellations and one resurrection, here is Deadline’s annual honor roll of those who excelled at the 2018 upfronts. Also included is a list of pods and independent production companies with multiple series on broadcast and cable.

Greg Berlanti and Aaron Kaplan lead the pack this upfront with three new series each.

Berlanti just set a new record for the most on-air series with 14  — all live-action dramas — 10 of them on broadcast. Berlanti Prods.’s three new broadcast shows God Friended Me and The Red Line for CBS; and All American for the CW, join returning Arrow, Black Lightning, DC’s Legends of TomorrowThe FlashRiverdale and Supergirl for The CW and Blindspot for NBC as well the upcoming Chilling Adventures of Sabrina for Netflix; Titans and Doom Patrol for the DC Universe digital service; and You for Lifetime. Berlanti runs the company with president Sarah Schechter.

Aaron Kaplan’s independent Kapital Entertainment is heading into its ninth anniversary with nine series on the air after scoring three new broadcast pickups this upfront, drama A Million Little Things on ABC and comedies The Neighborhood and Fam on CBSTwo of them, A Million Little Things and Fam, are co-financed by Kapital,a joint venture he launched with Leslie Moonves and CBS Corp. just over a year agoKapital so far has financed three pilots (9JKL, AMLT & Fam), all of which have gone to series, along with the upcoming straight-to-series drama Tell Me a Story at CBS All Access. Kapital’s returning series are American Housewife on ABC, Life In Pieces on CBS, Divorce on HBO, Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix and The Chi on Showtime. Kaplan exec produces all new series with Dana Honor. Additionally, former CBS head of comedy Wendi Trilling, whose TrillTV has a pod deal with Kapital, has two new series she is executive producing The Neighborhood and Fam.
3 Arts Entertainment

Management/production company 3 Arts Entertainment is producing four new comedy series created/produced by clients: CBS’ Happy Together, Fox’s The Cool Kids and NBC’s Abby’s and I Feel Bad. (Additionally, the company has 2 Fox pilots still in contention, untitled Erin Foster and untitled Ilene Chaiken). The company’s broadcast portfolio also includes returning series Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which was picked up by NBC after a cancellation by Fox, The Resident on Fox, NBC’s The Good Place and Marlon, CBS’ Man With A Plan, the upcoming NBC reality series The Handmade Project, two broadcast comedies whose fate has not been decided, Ghosted and Champions, as well as a number of cable/streaming series.

Personal archive

Corinne Kingsbury has been a standout among creators, going 2-for-2-for-2 this season — two pitches sold, two pilots ordered and both picked up to series: multi-camera comedy Fam at CBS and comedic drama In the Dark at the CW. It is rare for a sole creator to land two new broadcast series in one year, and this is believed to be the first time a writer has gotten a drama and a comedy series order, particularly for a multi-camera comedy. Fam has Kingsbury in first position, with Jon Collier recently tapped as showrunner of In the Dark. But, since both shows are for midseason and from same studio, CBS TV Studios, Kingsbury plans to be involved in both, with the two writers rooms set up next to each other.

Former The Good Wife executive producer Craig Turk also got two series pickups, for Dick Wolf’s drama F.B.I. at CBS, which Turk wrote and will executive produce/showrun. Turk also co-wrote with Craig Sweeny (who will run it) the pilot for CBS’ new drama series The Code.

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Julie Plec, whose series The Originals is wrapping its run on the CW, has two drama series on the network. She executive produced and directed the Roswell, New Mexico pilot, which was picked up, and she also wrote the The Vampire Diaries/Originals offshoot Legacies, which was picked up to series based on her script and landed on the fall schedule. Plec will executive produce and showrun.

Several prolific showrunners with series on the air added a new show to their portfolio.

Mike Schur and J.J. Philbin

It was a rollercoaster pre-upfront week for The Good Place creator Mike Schur. On Tuesday, NBC comedy pilot, Abby’s, which he exec produces, was picked up to series by NBC. Two days later, on Thursday, his Fox comedy series Brooklyn Nine-Nine (co-created with Dan Goor), got canceled by Fox after five season. Friday was a great day in the Mike Schur-J.J. Philbin household as this upfront’s power couple celebrated the series order for Philbin’s hot ABC comedy Single Parents, which landed the post-Modern Family slot, and Brooklyn’s pickup by NBC. Schur, who also has Master Of None on Netflix, next season will join Chuck Lorre as the two top broadcast comedy showrunners with three series each — all on the same network, NBC (Schur) and CBS (Lorre).

Call him the reboot king. Peter Lenkov extended his streak with a third consecutive reboot of a classic procedural drama to go to series. Lenkov’s Magnum P.I., which was CBS’ hottest drama pilot this season, joins his existing CBS series Hawaii Five-0 and MacGyver — all three on the broadcast network’s fall schedule, as well as summer series Salvation.


Dick Wolf has new CBS series F.B.I., the prolific producer’s first drama series to launch on a network other than NBC in 15 years. It will be joining his four returning NBC drama series, veteran Law & Order: SVU as well as Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med. His Wolf Entertainment also has three docu/reality series on cable networks.

Courtesy of CAA

The Black-ish and Grown-ish creator Kenya Barris added a third comedy series, Freeform’s Besties, which was announced at the jointed ABC-Freeform upfront presentation. Additionally, he has pilot Bright Futures still in consideration at NBC.


As Jane the Virgin creator Jennie Snyder Urman is gearing up for the final season of her CW comedy series, she also is shepherding the network’s newly picked up Charmed reboot. Serving as executive producer on both is Ben Silverman who also has Amazon series Lore and a number of unscripted shows.

Lauren Cohan

In front of the camera, Lauren Cohan attended ABC’s upfront presentation for her new series, Whiskey Cavalier, while on break from filming AMC’s The Walking Dead. The pickup for Whiskey Cavalier means that Cohan won’t be able to return to the AMC drama full time for the life of the ABC series but she has a deal to appear in six episodes from the eight-episode fall Season 9 portion, which she will wrap before production starts on Whiskey Cavalier this summer. Beyond that, Cohan could continue to juggle both series — she has been cleared to do multiple TWD episodes during her hiatus from the ABC show — should it get renewed — but she still will need to negotiate a deal for that.

Also pulling double duties this upfront season is Hector Elizondo. He has a deal for the resurrected Last Man Standing series on Fox as member of the original cast. Additionally, he stars in the comedy pilot Guess Who Died, which didn’t go to series at NBC but is in discussions for a new home.

Several pods/independents landed a new series in addition to their existing ones at the upfront.

Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV, run by Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank, added new CW drama series Roswell, New Mexico to their portfolio, which includes eight scripted series (Roswell, New Mexico; Reverie, Bull, The Americans, Amazing Stories, The Haunting, Animaniacs, All About the Washingtons)  and 3 cable docu/reality series.

Sarah Timberman and Carl Beverly‘s Timberman/Beverly Prods. added new CBS drama series The Code to returning SEAL Team and Elementary and upcoming Netflix series Unbelievable — all through CBS TV Studios, which the duo recently left for ABC Studios.

eOne, now with Mark Gordon at the helm, added new ABC series The Rookie to Ice and the upcoming Sharp Objects and Youth & Consequences.

John Davis and John Fox’s Davis Entertainment added CBS’ high-profile Magnum P.I. reboot to returning The Blacklist on NBC, with Timeless still awaiting word on renewal.

Justin Lin’s Perfect Storm, which he runs with Danielle Woodrow, added Magnum P.I. to returning S.W.A.T.

A handful of producers also control blocks of primetime programming on the broadcast networks.  the CW has three full Greg Berlanti nights, Monday-Wednesday. Shondaland has the 8-11 PM TGIT night on ABC. Dick Wolf oversees NBC’s new Chicago-branded Wednesday. Lee Daniels is in charge of Wednesday 8-10 PM on Fox (Empire, Star). Peter Lenkov runs the 8-10 PM CBS dramas on Friday (MacGyver, Hawaii Five-0).

Among the directors, Pam Fryman directed the pilot for NBC’s comedy Abby’s and is directing the first episode of CBS’ Murphy Brown revival.


(Pods/Independent production companies with multiple shows on the broadcast + major cable/digital networks):

Berlanti Prods: 14 (All American, The Red Line, God Friended Me, The Black Lightning, Riverdale, DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow, Blindspot, Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, You, Titans, Doom Patrol, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)

Kapital Entertainment: 9 (A Million Little Things, The Neighborhood; FamAmerican Housewife; Life In Pieces; Divorce; Santa Clarita Diet, The Chi, Tell Me a Story)

Amblin TV: 8 (Roswell, New MexicoReverie, Bull, The Americans, Amazing Stories, The Haunting, Animaniacs, All About the Washingtons) + 3 cable docu/reality series, (Cooper’s Treasure, Why We Hate, Days That Shaped the World)

Ryan Murphy Prods.: 7 (9-1-1, Feud, American Horror Story, American Crime Story, Pose, RatchedThe Politician)

Wolf Entertainment: 5 (F.B.I.Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chicago Med) + 3 cable docu/reality series (Nightwatch Cold Justice, Criminal Confessions)

Hello Sunshine: 5 (Big Little Lies, Little Fires Everywhere, Are You Sleeping, Morning Show drama, Kristen Wiig comedy)

Shondaland: 4 (Station 19, For the PeopleHow To Get Away With MurderGrey’s Anatomy)

Bad Robot: 4 (Lovecraft CountryWestworldCastle Rock, Demimonde)

eOne: 4 (The RookieSharp Objects, Ice, Youth & Consequences)

Secret Hideout: 4 (Instinct, Hawaii Five-0, Star Trek: Discovery, Salvation)

Chuck Lorre Prods: 4 (Young Sheldon, Mom, The Big Bang Theory, The Kominsky Method)

Imagine TV: 4 (Empire, Arrested Development, Genius, Mars) + cable docu series Breakthrough

Timberman/Beverly: 4 (The Code, SEAL Team, Elementary, Unbelievable)

Blumhouse: 4: (Into the Dark, Sharp Objects, The Purge, The Sacred Lies) + 2 cable/digital docu series

Fremulon (Mike Schur): 4 (Abby’s, The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Master of None)

Alloy Entertainment: 4 (YouLegacies, The 100, PLL: The Perfectionists)

A Very Good Production: 4 (Splitting Up Together, Green Eggs and Ham, Little Big Shots, Ellen’s Game Of Games)

John Wells Prods: 3 (American Woman, Shameless, American Kingdom)

Davis Entertainment: 3 (Magnum P.I., S.W.A.T.The Blacklist)

Original Films: 3 (S.W.A.T., Happy!, Preacher)

Valhalla Entertainment: 3 (The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking DeadLore)

Fake Empire: 2 (Dynasty, Marvel’s Runaways)

Le Train Train: 2 (Claws, Angie Tribeca)

Perfect Storm: (Magnum P.I.S.W.A.T.)

Akil Prods.: 2 (Black Lightning, Love Is___)

3 Arts Entertainment: 10 broadcast (Happy Together, The Cool Kids, Abby’s, I Feel Bad, The Resident, The Good Place Marlon, Man With A Plan, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Handmade Project), plus a number of cable/digital series, including Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Master Of None, Baskets, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Silicon Valley and Insecure.

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2018/05/upfronts-2018-the-overachievers-list-greg-berlanti-aaron-kaplan-corinne-kingsbury-1202393942/