As we close the book on the 2019 broadcast pilot season, largely overshadowed by the WGA-ATA standoff, here is Deadline’s annual honor roll of those who excelled at the 2019 upfronts. The list includes writers/producers/pods who scored at least one new series at the upfronts and have multiple scripted shows.
Berlanti Prods. went 3-for-3 with their pilots, landing series orders for Prodigal Son, starring Michael Sheen and Tom Payne, at Fox and Batwoman, headlined by Ruby Rose, and Katy Keene, starring Lucy Hale, at the CW. The company, which Greg Berlanti runs with President Sarah Schechter, also saw all of its current broadcast series being renewed (decision on CBS’ The Red Line, which is being billed as a limited series, is still pending.) The company’s tally is a record 18 series (including Red Line). Additionally, Warner Bros. TV-based Berlanti Prods. controls more than half of the CW’s scripted roster with nine of the network’s 17 shows and provides all programming for three consecutive nights on the CW fall schedule, Sunday-Tuesday.
Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment went 2-for-2 with the company’s CBS comedy pilots, Carol’s Second Act, starring Patricia Heaton, and The Unicorn, toplined by Walton Goggins. What’s more, both landed on the fall schedule as Kaplan and CBS’ top comedy showrunner Chuck Lorre control the network’s signature Thursday comedy block with two shows each. The independent Kapital, with executive Dana Honor, has 10 series across broadcast, premium cable and streaming.
Producer Doug Robinson also went 2-for-2 with his two pilots, the high-profile ABC legal drama For Life, starring Nicholas Pinnock, and NBC comedy Indebted, co-starring Fran Drescher. Additionally, both of his existing series, ABC comedy The Goldbergs and spinoff Schooled, were renewed, bringing Sony TV-based Doug Robinson Prods.’ tally to 4 on-air series.
For the second time in three years, writer-creator Dean Georgaris received two pilot orders in the same cycle with NBC’s Bluff City Law, starring Jimmy Smits, and ABC’s The Baker and the Beauty. In 2017, he also had pilots at NBC (The Brave) and ABC (Las Reinas) with the NBC one going to series. He did one better this year as both of his pilots went to series.
The Baker and the Beauty, based on an Israeli format, comes from Keshet Studios, which also went 2-for-2 with their broadcast pilots. The company’s other new series is drama Lincoln, based on the Bone Collector novels, on NBC.
Lincoln was directed and executive produced by Seth Gordon, who too is wrapping this pilot season with a perfect 2-for-2 record. Gordon also executive produces new ABC comedy series United We Fall.
Several prolific showrunners added a new broadcast series to their portfolios. Ryan Murphy got an order by Fox for a 9-1-1 spinoff, 9-1-1: Lone Star. He now has 8 drama series on Fox, FX and Netflix. Six of the shows are with Brad Falchuk; Tim Minear plays a key role in 3.
CBS’ order for Dick Wolf‘s FBI: Most Wanted brings his tally to six drama series, all on broadcast, in addition to cable docu/reality series. With the green light for black-ish spinoff mixed-ish on ABC, Kenya Barris has 4 series, three of them part of the black-ish franchise, joined by the recent pickup of his first Netflix show. Chuck Lorre, bidding farewell to The Big Bang Theory, has new CBS comedy Bob Hearts Abishola for a total of 4 comedy series on CBS and Netflix. Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage and their Fake Empire landed Nancy Drew on the CW to increase their current series tally to four, all of which they created or co-created.
Michelle King & Robert King have new CBS drama Evil in addition to The Good Fight and Your Honor. Archie universe architect Robert Aguirre-Sacasa added a third series to the Riverdale franchise with Katy Keene. Mike Schur executive produces new NBC comedy series Sunnyside, his fifth on-air series (including NBC’s freshman Abby’s whose fate has not been decided), two of which he also created/co-created. Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard added a third animated series to his plate with Fox’s The Great North.
Amblin Television added new CBS drama series Tommy to their tally. The company, which pulled out of renewed CBS drama series Bull over the sexual harassment allegations against star Michael Weatherly, has 10 series across broadcast, cable and streaming.
Imagine Television‘s new Fox drama Filthy Rich brings its total to five scripted series on the air (in addition to docu fare). eOne expanded its U.S. scripted series roster with Fox’s Deputy, which joins The Rookie and Designated Survivor and a sizable unscripted portfolio. With NBC’s The Kenan Show, Lorne Michaels’s Broadway Video has five current primetime series, in addition to its suite of late-night shows. Ben Silverman/Propagate added CBS comedy Broke for a total of 4 scripted series, along with a slew of unscripted. Jerry Bruckheimer Television landed NBC’s Council Of Dads to join Lucifer and L.A.’s Finest (as well as unscripted staple The Amazing Race). Endemol Shine North America had two new series showcased at the upfronts, drama Not Just Me for Fox and The Biggest Loser revival for USA. The company also has drama Utopia at Amazon.
Jason Katims’ True Jack Prods. also is behind Not Just Me along with Netflix series Away. Jennie Snyder Urman added new CBS comedy Broke to her CW drama Charmed. CBS has two series created/co-created by Paul Attanasio on tap for next season, new drama Tommy and returning Bull. Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s Lord Miller added new Fox animated series Bless the Harts to Netflix’s Hoops.
Wendi Trilling’s TrillTV, which collaborates with Kapital Entertainment, has three on-air series, including new CBS comedy The Unicorn. Producer Len Goldstein added new CBS drama series All Rise to NBC’s Manifest. Amy Poehler’s Paper Kite Prods. is adding new Fox animated series Duncanville to Netflix’s Russian Doll on the scripted side (plus reality show Making It). Eric and Kim Tannenbaum’s The Tannenbaum Co. has NBC newcomer Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist in addition to TBS’ The O.G..
Directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra and their Zaftig Films are adding Fox’s NeXt to NBC’s This Is Us and Amazon’s Patriot. Fellow director Jason Winer and his Small Dog Picture Company is adding NBC’s Perfect Harmony to ABC’s Single Parents.