If the broadcast development season were a reality competition show, we would now be in the final round where some 85 pilots are battling for spots on next season’s schedule. And while the winners won’t be known until the upfronts in May, here are the overachievers in the pilot stage of the competition.
Greg Berlanti — he killed it in his first development season at his new (old) studio home, Warner Bros. Television. Berlanti and his company Berlanti Prods. sold five projects to the broadcast networks. Four of them netted pilot orders: Guilty at Fox written by Marc Guggenheim, an Nicholas Wootton-written drama at CBS, Arrow at the CW, penned by Berlanti, Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg, and a comedy at CBS written by Berlanti and Greg Malins. And if that’s not enough, while working on his broadcast development Berlanti found time to write a cable spec, Political Animals, which just received a six-episode straight-to-series order by USA Network and is now casting alongside Berlanti’s broadcast pilots.
Aaron Kaplan — the one-man selling machine. Since founding his company, Kapital Entertainment, two-and-a-half years ago with his own money, the former WMA agent has landed 12 pilot orders while operating independently without the backing of a studio. Four of them came from the broadcast networks this season, all comedies: The Manzanies and the untitled Dan Fogelman project at ABC and Daddy’s Girls and Isabel at NBC. (Technically, there are 5 Aaron Kaplan broadcast pilots this season. The lit manager by the same name is executive producing the Adam Sztykiel ABC comedy pilot, and the matching names have created a lot of confusion and wrongly addressed emails.) Like Berlanti, Kaplan is casting a cable project along with his 4 broadcast pilots, Darren Star’s HBO comedy pilot Viagra Diaries starring Goldie Hawn. He also has several other projects in pilot contention, two upcoming series: ABC’s GCB and MTV’s The Inbetweeners, and a third one awaiting word on Season 2, Fox’s Terra Nova.
Mark Gordon, Marty Adelstein & Shawn Levy and Jamie Tarses. The Mark Gordon Co., Adelstein & Levy’s 21 Laps/Adelstein Prods. and Tarses’ Fanfare landed 3 pilot orders each this broadcast pilot season. The ABC Studios-based Mark Gordon Co., which has 4 series on the air, ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice, CBS’ Criminal Minds and Lifetime’s Army Wives, is behind 3 ABC pilots: dramas Americana and the Roland Emmerich project and comedy White Van Man. Additionally, the company has a cable pilot casting, the Showtime drama Roy Donovan starring Liev Schreiber. In its second year, 20th TV-based 21 Laps/Adelstein, whose first development season produced ABC’s solid freshman Last Man Standing, is fielding the untitled Karyn Usher drama pilot at Fox and comedies Little Brother at Fox and the Mandy Moore project at ABC. Sony TV-based Fanfare, which has 3 series on the air, ABC’s Happy Endings, TNT’s Franklin & Bash and TBS’ upcoming Men At Work, is shepherding CBS’ Baby Big Shot, NBC’s Hilary Winston and Fox’s cast-contingent Must Hire. Additionally, 3 Arts’ Howard Klein is an executive producer on 3 pilots, Greg Daniels’ Friday Night Dinner at NBC, Mindy Kaling’s Fox comedy and Melissa Rosenberg’s ABC drama Penoza. (more…)